Turkcell makes binding offer for TeliaSonera's Fintur Holding stake

Turkcell took a further step towards finalising a deal to take full control of Fintur Holdings by buying out majority shareholder TeliaSonera's 58.55 per cent stake.

In a statement to the Istanbul stock exchange, the Turkish operator announced it has made a binding offer to acquire TeliaSonera's holding in Fintur in a move that would see Turkcell own 100 per cent of the Eurasian company.

The bid follows a non-binding offer that Turkcell made in November to buy TeliaSonera's stake. Turkcell currently owns 41.45 per cent of Fintur, which has operations in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Georgia.

In the stock market statement, Turkcell also said it has made a binding offer to acquire TeliaSonera's direct 24 per cent stake in Kazakh operator Kcell.

While TeliaSonera has yet to comment on Turkcell's latest bid for Fintur, the deal fits with a long-term plan by the Sweden-headquartered operator to completely exit the Eurasian market in order to focus fully on its Nordic and Baltic operations.

The company has already begun reporting Region Eurasia as a discontinued operation as part of its exit strategy. In its recent fourth quarter and full year 2015 earnings statement, CEO Johan Dennelind explained that the company's results had "been impacted by non-cash write-downs" relating to its decision to reduce its Eurasian presence.

TeliaSonera had previously announced it would book a SEK7.2 billion (€772 million/$840 million) non-cash impairment charge as part of the exit plan. The bulk of the charge -- SEK5.3 billion -- related to its operations in Uzbekistan, the operator said.

At the time the impairment charge was announced, Dennelind explained that TeliaSonera was obliged "to change valuation method for these operations" as part of the process of reporting the region's earnings as discontinued.

The operator's earnings statement showed that total Eurasian net income fell 34.6 per cent year-on-year to SEK10.2 billion in 2015, comprised of SEK9.5 billion from continuing operations in the region and SEK673 million from discontinued operations. Net sales for the region increased 6.7 per cent through 2015 to SEK85.5 billion.

For more:
- see Turkcell's stock market statement (PDF)
- view the company's previous announcement (PDF)
- read TeliaSonera's earnings statement (PDF)

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