Norwegian Telco Company To Retain Its Controlling Stake in Malaysia’s DIGI

Top executives from Telenor ASA, led by its president and chief executive officer, Jon Fredrik Baksaas, discussed with Energy, Water and Communications, Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik, about the Norwegian Telco company’s intention to retain its controlling stake in DiGi.Com Bhd on September 10, 2007.
Telenor is facing year-end deadline to reduce its controlling stake after Dr Lim has said last month that the company would not be given another deadline to reduce its stake in DiGi after it was allowed to raise its stake in the company to 61 percent back in the year 2001.
“I’m meeting them tomorrow. They want to see me and I have agreed to meet them. I don’t know what exactly they want to talk to me, but I presumed it has something to do with their stake in DiGi,” he told Bernama on September 9, 2007. Apart from Baksaas, another Telenor top executive met Dr Lim were its senior vice-president and deputy CEO, who is also the head of Telenor’s Asia Operations, Arve Johansen.
After DiGi’s annual general meeting in May, Johansen said the Oslo-based Telco Company will reduce its stake and comply with the target by year-end. However, the interview with Bloomberg recently, Dr Lim said he has not seen any proposal from Telenor to pare down its equity in DiGi, despite the fact that the company has less than four months to do so. He also said Telenor will not be given another deadline to reduce its stake to 49 from currently 61 percent as it’s was the condition imposed when Telenor was allowed to raise its stake in the year 2001.
Telenor is supposed to pare down its stake in DiGi by the end of last year but was given a year’s extension by the Malaysian government until the end of this year.There is also speculation of possibility the Malaysian government investment arm, Khazanah Nasional Bhd take up some stake in DiGi from Telenor through Time dotCom. However, DiGi clarified that it has yet to make any proposal to any potential strategic partner.
Dr Lim again reiterated that Telenor has to comply with the condition to pare it stake in DiGi by year-end and there would be no more extension.” A month ago, my ministry (Energy, Water and Communication) has issued a letter to them stating that they have to comply with it. The decision has been made; they got to comply with it. “I don’t know exactly what they will talk to me tomorrow but we have already told them that there is no more extension,” he added.
Telenor has more than 129 million mobile subscribers worldwide and is regarded as one of the fastest growing providers of mobile communication services worldwide.
Apart from Telenor Norway, Sweden, Pakistan, Serbia, the company also owned Sonofon (Denmark), Kyvstar (Ukraine), Pannon (Hungary), Promonte (Montenegro), VimpelCom (Russia), DiGi (Malaysia), DTAC (Thailand) and Grameenphone (Bangladesh).

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