Telecom operator VEON seeking sale of Russian operations

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(Reuters) – Veon Ltd, the Dutch-based operator of telecommunications networks, said on Wednesday it was seeking the sale of its Russian operations, which make up more than half of its revenues and earnings.

The company said it was conducting a “competitive sales process” for the business, which operates under the Beeline brand.

“There can be no assurance that the sales process mentioned above will result in an acceptable offer or, even if an acceptable offer is obtained and results in an acquisition agreement being reached, that the requisite approvals will be received,” the company said in a statement.

Veon’s shares have traded near record lows since tumbling after Russia sent its armed forces into Ukraine in February.

Since then, scores of foreign firms have sought to reduce exposure to Russia and paused or terminated operations there.

Veon’s position is difficult as it also has significant operations in Ukraine, where it has struggled to keep its Kyivstar arm operating throughout the conflict.

CEO Kaan Terzioglu told Reuters in March he hoped the company would be allowed to continue operating in both markets and spared nationalization on humanitarian grounds, as an essential service.

The company said on Wednesday it hoped to broker the best possible outcome for the company, shareholders, creditors, customers and employees “both inside and outside Russia.”

Beeline had earnings before interest taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of 20 billion roubles ($325 million) through the first eight months of 2022.

Russian media reported last month Veon was considering a sale of Beeline but Veon declined comment at the time.

Veon is due to report third quarter earnings Thursday, Nov. 3.

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