Swedish telco, Telia Company, has announced that it will sell off its remaining 41.7 stake in Turkish operator, Turkcell, thereby exiting the Turkish market.
The sale will raise around $530 million, Telia Company confirmed in a statement to the press.
“Today we announce the final piece of the Turkish exit puzzle – the divestment of Telia Company’s stake in Turkcell Holding. Over the past few years, our focus has been our core Nordic and Baltic markets. Through this divestment, we unwind a long-lasting legal deadlock; we reduce risk, improve leverage and increase liquidity which will generate better shareholder returns in our core markets,” says Allison Kirkby, president and CEO of Telia Company.
“Turkcell has grown into a strong company which has generated substantial returns for its owners,” she added.
Since the divestment of its 14 percent direct ownership in 2017, Telia Company has not been a direct owner of Turkcell Iletisim. Fintur, which was jointly owned with Turkcell, was dissolved in 2019, further limiting Telia’s direct involvement with Turkcell. Today, Telia Company agreed to divest its 47.1 percent holding in Turkcell Holding to Turkey Wealth Fund, the strategic investment arm of Republic of Turkey, and thereby completes the exit from Turkey.
Turkcell Holding is a privately held holding company, directly and indrectly owned by Cukurova, LetterOne and Telia Company. Its only operation is the ownership of 51 percent in Turkcell. The governance of Turkcell Holding has been challenging. Disagreements between the shareholders have caused difficulties in the corporate governance of Turkcell from time to time (see link to Turkcell white paper below). Today’s agreement includes, subject to closing, a full and global settlement of the disputes and litigations in Turkcell and Turkcell Holding, dating back to 2005.
Telia Company expects to receive USD 530 million, approximately SEK 5 billion, for its ownership in Turkcell Holding. With this final divestment of Telia Company’s interest in Turkey, the total investments in Turkcell amounting to approximately $1.38 billion (SEK 13 billion) have generated total dividends and net divestment proceeds of approximately $2.97 billion (SEK 28 billion) after tax over the last 20 years.