Zet Mobile has completed its acquisition of Veon’s 98% holding in Tajikistani mobile operator Tacom.
Since it already held the remaining 2%, Zet Mobile now has complete control of Tacom, which provides services under the Beeline brand. Tacom was issued a $45 million fine by Tajikistan’s tax committee in 2016, which – according to reports in April – was a significant factor that pushed Veon towards a market exit.
Veon first obtained a stake in Tacom in 2005, originally acquiring a 60% holding for $12 million which it went on to increase. From Q2 2016, Veon withheld its performance reports for Tajikistan – seemingly due to Tacom’s tax fines. The operator’s appeal to the Tajik Higher Economic Court was dismissed.
Last year, Telia exited Tajikistan by selling its 60% stake in local operator Tcell to the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development. The $27.7 million deal was stalled due to a disagreement with the Tajik authorities related to taxation.
Tacom’s value has been estimated by Russian business daily Vedomosti at anywhere between $70 million to $200 million. Zet Mobile will retain the Beeline branding as part of the sale agreement. The operator’s market share was 12% at the end of Q1 2018, putting it behind Babilon Mobile (38%), Tcell (27%) and Megafon (18%).