TeliaSonera Plans to Raise Nepal Unit Stake as It Exits Cambodia

TeliaSonera AB (TLSN), the Nordic region’s second-largest phone company, exited Cambodia and agreed to raise its stake in a unit in Nepal, part of a plan to focus on emerging markets where it’s one of the market leaders.

TeliaSonera sold its 18.6 percent stake in Cambodia’s Smart Mobile to Latelz Co. Ltd., spokeswoman Cecilia Edstroem said by phone. The company will acquire an additional 12.4 percent stake in its Nepalese Ncell unit if a law is changed to permit higher foreign ownership, she also said.

“Cambodia is a highly competitive market and as our strategy is to become number one or two in each market, we decided in 2010 we would reduce our ownership,” Edstroem said.

TeliaSonera bought stakes in wireless companies in Cambodia and Nepal from Kazakhstan-based Visor Group for $484 million in 2008. The Swedish company sought wireless growth in emerging markets to counter slowing growth at home. It paid $160 million for an additional stake in 2010, at the same time selling part of the Cambodian holding to Latelz and acquiring the right to increase its holding in Nepal to 72.9 percent.

TeliaSonera currently owns 60.4 percent of Ncell in Nepal, it said in a statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Diana ben-Aaron in Helsinki at dbenaaron1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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