Sweden’s Telia sells $1bn telecom unit to pensions

Telia CEO Allison Kirkby

Swedish telecoms giant Telia Company AB said it agreed to sell its international carrier business Telia Carrier to pension fund Polhem Infra in a deal worth about 9.45 billion Swedish crowns ($1.06 billion).

The unit being sold is the world’s largest international telecoms carrier business.

Polhem Infra is jointly owned by Swedish pension funds First AP Fund, Third AP Fund and Fourth AP Fund. 

The acquisition is Polhem Infra’s first investment in digital infrastructure.

Telia CEO Allison Kirkby said: “The divestment of Telia Carrier highlights the value Telia has built in its digital infrastructure — and today we are able to crystallize some of that value.

“As a consequence, we can now fully concentrate on our Nordic and Baltic footprint, while we at the same time have secured future access for our customers to Telia Carrier’s world-leading solutions, through a long-term strategic partnership.

“The majority of the proceeds from the sale will be used to strengthen our balance sheet and thereby provide a solid financial base for Telia Company and our shareholders, enabling both investments in services and networks in our core markets as well as providing a strong foundation for attractive shareholder remuneration.”

Polhem Infra CEO Mikael Lundin said: “As an investor in Nordic infrastructure we will be a stable and long-term owner, committed to the company and its role in the transition towards sustainable and thriving societies globally.

“We will support the company with a thought-leading board of directors, and we will continue to invest in digital infrastructure, a core investment area for us.”

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals in the EU and the US and is expected to be completed during the first half of 2021.