Myanmar authorities could thwart Telenor sale

Myanmar authorities could thwart Telenor sale

Telenor Group has hit a major setback in its efforts to sell its Myanmar unit, with reports that the country’s military junta disapproves of proposed buyer M1 Group.

Nikkei Asia reported that Myanmar’s authorities have pressed Telenor to seek another buyer after allegations surfaced relating to M1’s alleged ties to the government of Syrian ruler Bashar Al-Assad, as well as rumours of corruption surrounding the company.

In July 2021, Telenor announced the sale of its Myanmar unit to Lebanon’s M1 for $105 million. The Nordic group was granted an operating licence in Myanmar in 2013 and has provided services since, but following the military coup in February 2021 Myanmar’s operators contended with orders to block internet access.

After registering a loss of NOK6.5 billion ($747.1 million) on its Myanmar operations, Telenor concluded that its business in the market was unviable and sought a buyer. However, the deal requires the approval of both Myanmar’s Investment Commission and Ministry of Transport and Communication.