Aga Khan fund buys Tcell from Telia

By:
Alan Burkitt-Gray
Published on:

Telia Company sells 60% stake in Tajikistan operator Tcell for $39m to 40% owner Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development

The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (Akfed) has added another telecoms operator to its portfolio by buying Telia Company’s 60% stake in Tajikistan operator Tcell. Akfed already owned the other 40% and is paying just $39 million for the rest.

Akfed owns Afghanistan’s Roshan mobile operator, which in turn also owns Smart Telecom, with businesses in east Africa.

Telia – formerly TeliaSonera – has been looking to sell off its interests outside its core European market. Earlier this year it sold its 60% stake in Nepal’s Ncell to Axiata. In January CEO Johan Dennelind announced that the whole Eurasian region would be regarded as “discontinued operations” in its accounts.

Dennelind said of the latest sale: “The divestments of our holding in Tcell is in line with our ambition to reduce our presence in Eurasia and increase focus on our operations in the Nordics and Baltics. Akfed has been a significant shareholder in Tcell since inception, and I am convinced that they will be able to further develop the company.”

The sale price was based on an enterprise value of $66 million.

Akfed is part of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). The fund says that it “works in partnership with international organisations and governments to stimulate the private sectors of developing economies, with the aim of generating capital for investment in sustainable development initiatives”.

The Aga Khan, the founder and chairman of AKDN, is the 49th hereditary imam – or spiritual leader – of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims.