Telia Company has reached an agreement with Polhem Infra for the sale of its international carrier business, Telia Carrier, for a value of SEK 9,450 million (€900.1m) on a cash and debt free basis. At the same time, Telia Company enters a long-term strategic partnership with Telia Carrier, securing continuous network solutions to Telia’s customers.
Content, services and operator customers of Telia Carrier account for 65 per cent of global Internet routes. Its network spans across Europe, North America, and Asia, connecting customers in more than 120 countries, with the Scandinavian footprint being particularly strong through the so-called Scandinavian Ring – the part of Telia Carrier’s network that connects major Baltic and Nordic cities.
In connection with the divestment and change of ownership, a strategic, long-term partnership between Telia Carrier and Telia Company has been established, to safeguard the two companies’ unique ability to provision services and to develop new solutions for Telia’s customers. The change of ownership will enable Telia Carrier, with its 530 employees, to drive a level of investment in network development, services and customer care programs that brings benefits to content providers, operators and enterprises beyond that of any competitor.
The acquisition is Polhem Infra’s first investment in digital infrastructure. Polhem Infra is jointly owned by the Swedish Pension Funds; First AP Fund, Third AP Fund and Fourth AP Fund. The company’s goal is to lay the best possible foundation for long-term investments in infrastructure to meet society’s long-term needs. The focus is on cooperation and sustainability.
Mikael Lundin, CEO, Polhem Infra, 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.”
Allison Kirkby, President and CEO of Telia Company, added: ”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.
” At this time, I want to thank the whole Telia Carrier team for building such a strong customer centric business over many years. This transaction is great testament to the value they have created for their customers and for Telia Company’s owners. I am confident that under the continued leadership of Staffan Göjeryd, Head of Telia Carrier, Polhem Infra will be an excellent owner for Telia Carrier and that it will continue to go from strength to strength under their stewardship,” she concluded.
For 2019, Telia Carrier reported net sales of SEK 5,388 million, an EBITDA excluding IFRS-16 of SEK 500 million (SEK 888 million including IFRS-16) and capital expenditures of SEK 396 million resulting in EBITDA, excluding IFRS-16, less capital expenditures, of SEK 104 million. The agreed price for Telia Carrier equals an EV/EBITDA, excluding IFRS-16, multiple for 2019 of 18.9x. The transaction is expected to generate a capital gain of approximately SEK 7 billion at closing.
As a consequence of improved visibility on the underlying performance of Telia and the strengthened balance sheet following the disposals of the shareholding in Turkcell Holding and Telia Carrier, the Board of Directors has decided to propose to pay an additional dividend of SEK 0.65 per share, subject to the approval by an Extraordinary General Meeting. If approved, the resulting total dividend per share payment would amount to SEK 2.45 for the financial year 2019, which is the level of ordinary dividend for 2019 that was originally announced in January this year and equates to 80 per cent of operating free cash flow. An invitation to the Extraordinary General Meeting will be sent out shortly.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed during the first half of 2021. As of September 30th 2020 the Telia Carrier operation will be regarded as assets held for sales in Telia Company’s accounting.