Baku. 17 September. REPORT.AZ/ Scandinavian telecom operator TeliaSonera AB will exit its Eurasian operations and focus more on its Swedish and European business as the company makes a strategic shift away from a region that has been hit by a challenging macroeconomic environment, strong price competition and a messy investigation over bribery allegations.
Report informs, at the end of 2013, Telia’s chief financial officer and three other senior employees left the company after investigators criticized the way it had invested in a telecom license in Uzbekistan. The alleged corruption scandal had also seen the chief executive resign earlier in the year, though a review by TeliaSonera’s internal investigation found that while it broke its own ethical guidelines, it didn’t break any laws.
However, a recent U.S. investigation alleges TeliaSonera, with Amsterdam-based VimpelCom Ltd. and Mobile TeleSystems PJSC of Russia, funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to businesses controlled by Gulnara Karimova, the elder daughter of Uzbek President Islam Karimov, in an effort to secure wireless frequencies and other deals in that country.
Telia said Thursday that after examining what is best for shareholders, operations, employees and customers, it has now started a process to reduce its presence in Eurasia to focus on other regions.
“Thanks to two years of hard work to improve the Eurasian operations, not least from a corporate governance and sustainability perspective, we now have better and more well-managed companies which we believe others can successfully develop further,” CEO Johan Dennelind said.
The countries it plans to exit include Nepal, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Tajikistan.