Wireless digital telecommunication network Veon(Parent company of Jazz) is in advanced talks to sell its power assets in Pakistan declared in a report on Tuesday. Veon owns 10,000 to 12,000 towers in Pakistan, whereas the value of each building is approximately $60,000 to $80,000, depending on interest rates.
It has been indicated that the TPL-TASC group has emerged as the most likely buyer after beating out rival bidders including other telecom companies. If the towers are sold, it will be Pakistan’s most significant transaction since 2011. Deliberations are ongoing, and the companies may still decide against a deal.
Veon CEO Kaan Terzioglu said in an interview last month, without naming a bidder, that the divestment in Jazz Towers was “very close to completion”. According to the report, a unit of Saudi Telecom Co. and Pakistani conglomerate Engro were also among the bidders for the assets.
Veon is a telecommunication network that was established in Moscow back in 1992. Since then, it has expanded into a Dutch-domiciled global communications giant. According to the record, it has more than 127 million customers in nine countries.
Undoubtedly, the company is currently the largest operator in Russia and has just begun the selling process. However, due to the various consequences of the Ukraine war, the company’s share price has decreased by two-thirds this year. Not only this, but last year Veon sold 15,000 towers in Russia for nearly $970 million to Service Telecom LLC.
Besides, Veon’s Group Chief executive officer Kaan Terzioglu reportedly said that the sale process is very close to the conclusion. According to the report, Saudi Telecom Co.unit, a consortium between Pakistan’s TPL Corp and UAE-based TASC Towers, and Pakistani conglomerate Engro are among the tower bidders.
During the meetings with various ICT industry stakeholders, the VEON delegation also highlighted that a healthy and stable telecom sector, the foundation of a country’s digital ecosystem, fuels virtually all sectors of the economy and is a prerequisite for consistent improvement in service quality for users.
However, the telecom industry’s financial health has recently been impacted due to an unprecedented rise in the cost of operations: primarily fuel, electricity, interest rates, constantly increasing USD pegged spectrum installments, and most recently severe damages caused to critical digital infrastructure by floods to the extent that now it threatens the very survival of telecom sector.
However, the spokespersons for Veon and Saudi Telecom declined to comment. The TPL-TASC consortium and Engro officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. None of the companies answered about buying the towers and provided a suitable statement regarding the potential deal.
Moreover, it is essential to mention that TPL REIT Management Company Limited, is a wholly owned subsidiary of TPL Properties Limited. Decided to enter into a strategic collaboration with UAE-based TASC towers. To acquire a Telecom Tower Infrastructure Company through an Infrastructure Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT).
TPL REIT Management Company Limited is wholly owned by TPL Properties Limited. TPL RMC and TASC, as a consortium, took part in an auction to acquire maximum Telecom Tower Infrastructure Company shares through an Infra REIT. This aim was to receive all essential clearances and authorization from the regulatory authorities.
In 2017, Veon and Global Telecom Holding(GTH) agreed to sell their tower business in Pakistan for nearly $940 million. According to the agreement Tanzanite, a power operating firm operated by Malaysia’s doctor group and Dawood Hercules Corporation would purchase Veon and GTH’s subsidiary in Pakistan. Including Jazz, and its wholly-owned tower company, Deodar, which had a portfolio of over 13,000 telecommunication Jazz towers. Alas, the companies are waiting to see whether they successfully obtain the required regulatory approvals for closing the potential deal.
Veon sold over 15,000 towers in Russia to Service-Telecom LLC last year for approximately $970 million. Terzioglu told Bloomberg News in August that the company has approximately 30,000 more towers to sell and is in discussions with prospective buyers in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine.