Luxemburg-based Millicom has arranged to sell its controlling stake in Laotian carrier Millicom Lao to Russia's Vimpelcom for €44 million.
Because Millicom owns around 75% of Millicom Lao, the deal values the operation at €69 million, or 7.5% of its estimated 2009 ebitda, Millicom said.
“'Vimpelcom's entry into Laos is the next logical step in our international expansion strategy,” Vimpelcom CEO Boris Nemsic said, noting that the southeast Asian nation has mobile ownership rate of just 23%. Vimpelcom has just launched a GSM service in neighboring Vietnam under the Beeline brand.
Millicom Lao has been operating a GSM service since April 2003. The company has around 274,000 subscribers, and a market share of around 22%, the Wall Street Journal said.
The sell-off comes as Millicom’s Lankan subsidiary, Celltel, is subject to a takeover bid by UAE-based Etisalat.
Last month it sold its Cambodian assets – controlling stakes in a GSM network, an international gateway service and a TV network – to local partner the Royal Group for €235 million.