Junta gives final approval for sale of Telenor's Myanmar unit

Junta gives final approval for sale of Telenor's Myanmar unit

This general view shows the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar, on Feb 1, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
This general view shows the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar, on Feb 1, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

SINGAPORE: Myanmar's junta has given the final approval for the sale of Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor's operations in the country to a local company and Lebanese investment firm, according to three sources with knowledge of the matter.

According to a letter of approval sent on Mar 15, seen by two of the people, the transfer of Telenor's Myanmar unit to its new owners must happen within five days.

Myanmar authorities and Telenor did not immediately respond to telephone and emailed requests for comment.

Telenor sought to leave Myanmar after last year's military coup. The company told Reuters in September it was selling its operations to avoid European Union sanctions after "continued pressure" from the junta to activate intercept surveillance technology.

Its departure has been mired in difficulty.

Military leaders late last year rejected its plan to sell its local operations to Lebanon's M1 Group for US$105 million, Reuters reported. Instead, they wanted M1 to partner with a local firm, Shwe Byain Phyu.

Reuters reported in February Shwe Byain Phyu will own 80% of the unit while M1 will own the rest.

Neither firm responded immediately to requests for comment by Reuters.

Civil rights groups said the deal could put the data of 18 million people within the junta's reach.


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