January 26, 2018 / 1:49 PM / a year ago

Telenor may sell mobile operations in eastern, central Europe

Telenor flag flutters next to the company's headquarters in Fornebu, Norway, June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway’s Telenor (TEL.OL) has received an expression of interest ahead of a potential bid for its mobile phone operations in central and eastern Europe, and will evaluate its options, it said on Friday.

The company’s mobile phone operations in the region are based in Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia.

“With a view of creating shareholder value, Telenor has engaged in a process to evaluate the interest received. Telenor expects to conduct these assessments in the first quarter of 2018,” it said in a statement.

While Telenor declined to name the potential buyer or buyers, its shares rose on the news, trading 1.2 percent higher for the day at 1355 GMT.

The eastern and central European operations contributed 8 percent of the company’s revenues and nine percent of core operating earnings in 2017.

Telenor currently has operations in 12 countries, including the four in continental Europe, three in the Nordic region and five in Asia, with a combined 176 million customers.

It will report its full-year 2017 earnings on Jan. 31. Analysts in a Reuters poll are forecasting revenues of 124.7 billion Norwegian crowns ($16.2 billion).

($1 = 7.6775 Norwegian crowns)

Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Mark Potter

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