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Telenor strikes €2.8B deal to sell operations in Central, Eastern Europe

Telenor ASA has agreed to sell its assets in Central and Eastern Europe to PPF Group, an investment firm owned by Czech billionaire Petr Kellner, for an enterprise value of €2.8 billion.

The deal, which is anticipated to close in the third quarter of 2018, will cover Telenor's mobile operations in Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia, as well as service provider Telenor Common Operation.

After receiving unsolicited interest in the assets from an undisclosed party in January, Telenor and PPF have concurred on a deferred purchase price, wherein €400 million of the transaction amount will be paid in four installments in a span of four years.

Telenor CEO Sigve Brekke said the move to sell its assets in Central and Eastern Europe is part of the Norwegian operator's strategy to focus on specific regions where it sees "the strongest potential."

Telenor's operations in the Central and Eastern Europe contributed revenues of about 11.8 billion Norwegian kroner and EBITDA of 4.1 billion kroner in 2017, representing 9% and of Telenor's revenues and 8% of Telenor's EBITDA for the year. The operator has about 9 million customers and around 3,500 employees in the region.

The board of the Norwegian operator eyes to provide a special dividend pay out of 4.40 kroner per share once the deal closes. The board will seek authorization to do so, during the May 2 annual general meeting.

The company anticipates to pay a total of 19 billion kroner to shareholders in 2018, including the proposed ordinary dividend of 8.10 kroner per share for 2017.

The company will be retaining its integrated fixed and mobile operations in Scandinavia, as well as its mobile services in Asia.

As of March 20, US$1 was equivalent to 7.73 Norwegian kronor.