February 28, 2017 / 5:57 PM / in 9 months

Telia in plea to Tajik PM to resolve stake sale impasse

STOCKHOLM, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Sweden’s telecoms group Telia Company has sought a meeting with the Tajik prime minister in an attempt to revive the sale of its stake in a mobile operator in Tajikistan.

Telia is gradually withdrawing from Central Asian markets, including Tajikistan, after being hit by investigations into alleged corruption and problems accessing cash in the region.

It announced a deal in September to sell its 60 percent holding in Tajik operator Tcell to the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) for a price based on a $39 million enterprise value for the holding.

But the sale has yet to receive approval from the Tajikistan Anti-Monopoly Commission, Telia said on Tuesday, adding that Tcell “finds itself in a very difficult situation”.

The Tajik government could not be reached for comment on the situation on Tuesday.

In a letter to Tajik Prime Minister Kokhir Rasulzoda published on Telia’s website, CEO Johan Dennelind said the situation was putting a severe financial strain on Tcell and a vital part of Tajik communications in jeopardy.

“We ask you to do all in your power to work together with AKFED and us to resolve the situation,” Dennelind said. (Reporting by Niklas Pollard and Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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