TeliaSonera takes over Spice Nepal Pvt Ltd

Kathmandu, September 27:

Spice Nepal Private Limited has become a part of TeliaSonera, a mobile communication services provider in Northern Europe and the Eurasian region. Issuing a press statement here today, Spice Nepal Pvt Ltd chief executive officer Dmitry Zaika announced that 80 per cent indirect interest of Spice Nepal had been acquired by TeliaSonera Asia Holding BV — a newly established partnership between TeliaSonera AB and a Kazakh investment and advisory firm, Visor Group.

“One of priorities is to expand our business in Eurasia, where we have successfully grown and created value over the past ten years. Nepal and Cambodia have a combined population of 43 million, low mobile penetration and growing economies. I am excited at this opportunity,” said Lars Nyberg, president and CEO of TeliaSonera AB.

TeliaSonera will acquire 51 per cent of the shares and votes in TeliaSonera Asia Holding

BV from Visor Group that will remain owner of the 49 per cent. TeliaSonera Asia Holding BV owns 80 per cent of the shares and votes in Spice Nepal, the second-largest mobile operator in Nepal, according to the press statement.

According to data provided by Mero Mobile, Spice Nepal launched commenced operations in September 2005 and is the second largest mobile operator in Nepal with around 1.6 billion subscriptions and an estimated market share of approximately 41 per cent as of August 2008. Net sales of Spice Nepal in 2007 and for the first six months of 2008 were $41.1 million and $34.1 million, respectively, The sale of EBITDA and non-recurring items was $19.0 million and $18 .2 million, respectively. Mobile penetration in Nepal, with a population of 28.4 million, is approximately 13 per cent.

According to the press statement, TeliaSonera expects to complete the transaction on October 1 and consolidate mobile operations in Nepal and Cambodia from the same date.

Spice Nepal Pvt Ltd is a private cellular mobile telephone service operator with the brand name Mero Mobile holding state licence for mobile services in Nepal in GSM 900/1800 and 3G 2.1 GHz. Mero Mobile started its service with voice call and SMS, and in the short period of its operations has introduced services like voice mail, SMS2e-mail, missed call notification, mobile internet (GPRS/Edge), MMS, PRBT and various other value-added services.