April 3, 2017 / 7:23 AM / in 4 months

UPDATE 1-Telia says deal to sell stake in Tajik operator Tcell lapses

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STOCKHOLM, April 3 (Reuters) - Nordic telecom operator Telia Company said on Monday a deal to sell its stake in Tajik operator Tcell had lapsed as the authorities in Tajikistan had not given their approval in time.

It announced an agreement in September to sell its 60 percent holding in Tcell to the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development.

But months later the sale had not been approved by the Tajikistan Anti-Monopoly Commission and in February Telia sought a meeting with the Tajik prime minister. "We are now assessing alternative ownership solutions for Tcell," Emil Nilsson, Telia's Eurasia head, said in a statement on Monday.

The company is gradually withdrawing from Central Asian markets, including Tajikistan, after being hit by investigations into alleged corruption and problems accessing cash in the region.

Telia's Tajik operations are reported as discontinued operations and the book value of Telia's interests has been adjusted to zero. The price agreed in September was around $13 million in equity value.

Telia has sold its Nepal business but has yet to sell its stake in Fintur Holdings, which has operations in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Moldova, as well as operations in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

Reporting by Olof Swahnberg; Editing by Daniel Dickson and Susan Thomas

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