The EU Commission said yes on Wednesday to the merger of Telenor and Telia. "The decision was very welcome, and we have plans ready to introduce a strong, customer-oriented and very competitive telecommunications company to the Scandinavian market and internationally", says the future President and CEO Tormod Hermansen.
The merged Telenor/Telia will be the sixth largest telecommunications company in Europe with 51,000 employees and sales of around SEK 43 billion or NOK 41 billion for the first half of 1999. “This is a positive merger. Telenor’s and Telia’s combined expertise and experience give the new company a strong platform for international expansion. We have high ambitions in the areas of mobile communication, Internet and IP carrier activities. In a few years 50 per cent of the new company’s income will come from operations outside of Norway and Sweden” says Tormod Hermansen.
In addition to its international ambitions, the company will also aim to reinforce its position as the leading telecommunication company in Scandinavia and improve its good customer relations in its home markets.
Tormod Hermansen believes that the measures requested by the EU commission such as the sale of overlapping activities in Norway, Sweden and Ireland, opening of the access network and sale of the cable TV activities in both countries are fully acceptable. “The benefits from merging Telenor and Telia more than compensate for the EU requirements”, says Hermansen.
It is intended that Telenor/Telia shares will be listed next year. The Swedish state will initially own 60 per cent of the shares in the merged company, and the Norwegian state will own 40 per cent. The respective Governments will each gradually reduce their ownership stakes to 33.4 per cent so that other owners will control 33.2 per cent of the company.
A general meeting of Telenor/Telia has been scheduled for 18 October. The Board of Directors for the new company will be elected at this meeting. Jan-Ã ke Kark will be appointed as the Board Chairman and Tormod Hermansen will be appointed as the President and CEO as agreed.