Kazakh company wants acquire Geocell

The new owner of Geocell will probably be a Kazakh state Company Kazakh Telecom and Investment Group Visor Group. Based on its sources, Swedish media writes that the Kazakh party tends to acquire full package of Eurasian assets of TeliaSonera, which also includes Georgian and Moldovan companies. Both Kazakh Telecom and Visor Group are closely connected with the President of the country and his family. Swedish Svenska Dagbladet writes that the new owners of the assets allegedly be Nursultan Nazarbaev’s oldest grandson as well as politically active people, who are very close to the President’s administration.

TeliaSonera doesn’t yet comment possible selling of Geocell. To the question, whether on 24th of October a tender on selling Geocell was launched or not and what was the result of the tender, the company representatives replied that “they don’t want to comment rumors and speculations” and if there is any news, the company will announce itself.

Decision on quitting the Eurasian market was made by Telia in 2015. Corruption existing in the region was named as one of the reasons for such a decision.

In the Eurasian market, the company operates in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Georgia, Moldova and Nepal. The company has several times talked about the complications linked to leaving the market.

In its quarterly report, the company explains that in the above countries, political, economic, legal and regulating situation has historically been unpredictable, compared to developed markets.

The problematic issue, connected to leaving the market, is the fact that there are not many potential buyers in the Eurasian market, since the process is hindered by potential interventions from the part of the government, issues related to reputation and the fact that part of company’s operators are not in Telia’s full ownership.

According to the representatives of the company, “political situation in this market may become quite unpredictable, to the extent that Telia is forced to leave the country or a specific operator in any of the countries. Some unexpected and unforeseeable amendments may be made to the tax or civil legislation. Another risk is connected expected limitations for property ownership by foreigners or other formal or non-formal possible actions towards property owner foreigners. These markets are distinguished by uncertainty and complications, which may influence the selling process with regard to time and expected results”.

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