Telenor eyeing minority stakes in new companies

Norwegian telecom group Telenor may seek to enter new countries through minority rather than through majority interests, in contrast to its main strategy, its chief executive, quoted by a Reuters report, said.

The Reuters report said Telenor's strategy for growth has been to build mobile phone networks from scratch in developing countries through subsidiaries where it owns controlling stakes.

'We might spot new projects that do not necessarily start at 50 % plus,' CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas said in an interview with Reuters. 'That could be a strategic necessity.'

But Baksaas said Telenor normally prefers to be the strategic and industrial owner of its investments to take advantage of economies of scale.

Telenor says on its website: 'Control is essential for us to benefit from cross-border synergies, such as scale in procurement, to develop new services and implement best practices, to improve operational efficiency and to increase our overall profitability.'

Telenor has stakes in mobile operators in 12 countries in Europe and Asia and is also the largest provider of TV services in the Nordic region, the Reuters report further said.

Earlier in December, Telenor regained access to the financial results of its 56.5 %-owned Ukrainian unit Kyivstar, but said it would still not consolidate it, but report it as an associated company.

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