Telenor still waiting to exit Myanmar

Telenor still waiting to exit Myanmar

As it continues to finalise its exit from Myanmar and the sale of its Myanmar operations to the unit’s new buyers, Myanmar conglomerate Shwe Byain Phyu (SBP) and Lebanese investment firm M1 Group, Norway's Telenor is said to be transferring a large sum to the new owners.

Reuters, quoting unnamed sources, reported earlier this week that Telenor is planning to transfer $100 million in retained earnings held at a Myanmar bank to SBP and M1.

Reuters suggests that this move implies that Telenor wishes to leave the country as soon as it can, given the possibility of EU sanctions and danger to its remaining staff. The military junta that took over the country in February 2021 has forbidden Telenor’s senior foreign executives from leaving the country.

The sale price, revealed last year, is to be $105 million, $55 million of which will be paid over five years. The sale has been approved by local regulators, but it seems full approval requires another, as yet unspecified step.

Telenor decided to sell up after the junta applied pressure on it to activate intercept surveillance technology. However, it has been suggested that existing user data was not deleted before the sale and could end up in the hands of the country’s military rulers.

SBP, whose chair has business ties to the military, was favoured by the military government as a partner for M1 in the deal. SBP will own 80% of the unit. M1 will hold the rest.