Telenor to sell Wave Money stake to Yoma in move to exit Myanmar

Telenor to sell Wave Money stake to Yoma in move to exit Myanmar

Telenor Group agreed to sell a remaining 51% stake in a mobile financial services provider in Myanmar in a deal that will see Norway’s biggest telecommunications firm move a step closer to exiting a country that has seen increased civilian strife since a military coup last year.

The stake in Digital Money Myanmar, also known as Wave Money, will be sold to Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd., which will lead a consortium of investors to fund the $53 million purchase, the companies said in a stock exchange filing Monday. Yoma Strategic is controlled by Myanmar-born property tycoon Serge Pun.  

Telenor last year also agreed to sell its mobile operations in Myanmar to Beirut-based M1 Group for $105 million. However there have been reports of a delay in closing the deal as the junta wants a Myanmar buyer instead and Pun is seen as one of the interested parties for the assets.  

The Norwegian firm is among the companies leaving Myanmar, which has plunged in to a turmoil after the February coup led by army chief Min Aung Hlaing. The latest deal means Yoma will be the largest shareholder of Wave Money, which handled $8.7 billion in remittance and payments in 2020, accounting for around 12% of the country’s gross domestic product.

The agreement also completes the divestment process announced in June 2020, when Telenor sold 34% in Wave Money for $76.5 million. Wave Money was formed in 2016 as a joint venture between Telenor, Yoma Bank and Yoma Strategic Holdings.

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