Myanmar junta “very unlikely” to approve Telenor Myanmar sale

People walk past a Telenor showroom in downtown Yangon. The Norwegian company says the sale of its Myanmar unit is continuing, subject to official approval. © EPA/Jiji

Myanmar’s junta are reluctant to approve the sale of Telenor Group’s Myanmar business to the Lebanese investment company M1 group, sources close to the matter have confirmed, according to Nikkei Asia. 

It is estimated that the Norwegian telecom giant has invested $1 billion in Myanmar since Telenor was granted a license in 2013 but in July, the company announced the sale of its wholly-owned subsidiary, Telenor Myanmar, to Beirut-based M1 Group for $105 million.

Nikkei Asia writes that according to legal and investment experts, Telenor’s sale of its Myanmar business to M1 Group requires under existing laws approval from the military-controlled Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC) and the Myanmar Investment Commission.

The military regime is however reluctant to approve the Telenor-M1 deal and two industry sources with access to MOTC officials told Nikkei Asia that the military has given “strong” signals that the deal is “very unlikely to be approved,” citing concerns about corruption charges, reports of the company’s closeness to the Syrian government, and the company’s methods of operating.

Responding to questions from Nikkei Asia, Telenor stated, “As announced on July 8, Telenor Group has signed an agreement to sell 100% of the shares of Telenor Myanmar to M1 Group. The sale is subject to regulatory approval in Myanmar and the process is ongoing.”

Read the full article by Nikkei Asia with more on the matter here

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

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