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BELGRADE (Serbia), March 22 (SeeNews) - Czech-based investment group PPF, the buyer of the assets of Norway-based Telenor in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), will be able to rebrand them after 33 months, Serbia's trade minister Rasim Ljajic has said.
Norwegian telecommunications group Telenor said on Wednesday it agreed to sell its assets in Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia to PPF for 2.8 billion euro ($3.43 billion) on an enterprise value basis. The parties have agreed on a deferred purchase price, where 400 million euro of the proceeds will be paid in four instalments over four years.
Under the terms of the transaction, Telenor units in CEE will be rebranded to reflect the change in ownership 33 months after the signing of the deal, Ljajic said in a video file published by news agency Tanjug on Wednesday.
The transaction proves that the Serbian telecommunications market is mature and will bring new investments in research and development to the country, Ljajic said.
"There will be no significant changes, there will be no lay-offs, but I am sure that there will be new investments," Ljajic added.
PPF has a clear goal for the development of telecommunication portfolios, and the business of Telenor in the region of central and eastern Europe is key to its realisation, the CEO of Telenor Serbia, Ingeborg Ofsthus, said in a separate statement on Wednesday.
"The transaction will not affect our users and local partners, and we continue to work as before, dedicated to providing consistent and quality services to our customers," Ofsthus noted.
The CEE operations contributed approximately 11.8 billion Norwegian crowns ($1.52 billion/1.24 billion euro), or 9% of Telenor Group's revenues and 4.1 billion Norwegian crowns, or 8% of EBITDA in 2017. They have more than 9 million customers and around 3,500 employees.
PPF Group is a private investment group, operating in CEE with approximately 35 billion euro of assets under its control. PPF Group invests in various sectors, including banking, consumer finance, real estate, mining and telecommunications. In February, PPF signed an agreement with Sweden's Modern Times Group (MTG) to acquire media company Nova Broadcasting Group in Bulgaria.
($ = 0.809533 euro)