Going Asset-Light: VEON and Summit Reach USD 100m Deal for Partial Sale of Bangladesh Towers Portfolio
Amsterdam and Dhaka, 15 November 2023 – VEON Ltd. (NASDAQ: VEON, Euronext Amsterdam: VEON), a global digital operator that provides converged connectivity and online services, today announces that its wholly owned subsidiary Banglalink has entered into an agreement to sell part of its tower portfolio in Bangladesh to Summit Towers Limited for BDT 11 billion - equivalent of roughly USD 100 million. The deal includes a long-term service partnership with Summit Towers.
Upon closing of the deal, more than 2,000 towers – about one-third of Banglalink’s towers portfolio – will be transferred to Summit Towers, a company majority-owned by Summit Communications Group, a leading Bangladeshi infrastructure group.
Since 2021, VEON defines its value creation strategy around three pillars: Asset-light business model and value crystallization of tower assets, sustained growth in core business with the digital operator strategy, and growth in adjacent markets – including financial services, entertainment, education and healthcare – with high-potential digital products. The agreement signed with Summit Towers aligns with the asset-light pillar of VEON’s value creation strategy and supports the Bangladesh Government’s goal of ensuring maximum efficiency in utilization of infrastructure resources.
“Across our markets, VEON operators are transforming into asset-light digital operators. Today’s agreement marks a milestone, ensuring efficient use of resources not only for Banglalink but also for Bangladesh as a whole. This deal will enable us to focus on our core business as the leading digital operator of the country and continue addressing the unmet demand in entertainment, education, healthcare and financial services,” said Kaan Terzioglu, Group CEO of VEON.
“This strategic deal is a prelude to greater cooperation between Banglalink and Summit, the largest integrated telecommunications infrastructure company in Bangladesh. The future is ours to grow together; and with support from VEON, we believe that our collaboration will go beyond the boundaries of Bangladesh into the global arena, setting an example in the region. We look forward to continuing to work together,” said Muhammad Farid Khan, Chairman of Summit Communications Limited and Summit Towers Limited.
“Banglalink has been successfully transforming into a nation-wide digital operator, with internationally recognized1 high-quality 4G connectivity and leading digital services such as Toffe and MyBL. Our partnership with Summit Towers enables us to focus our resources on our digital offerings, bridging the digital divide for all and providing an outstanding customer experience to the people of Bangladesh.” said Erik Aas, CEO of Banglalink.
The closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission. The proceeds from the sale will primarily be used to service Banglalink’s financial commitments, and for generating cost efficiencies while freeing up resources for the company’s digital expansion.
Nomura International Plc, Allen Overy LLP and Dr. Kamal Hossain & Associates are acting as financial and legal advisors to Banglalink.
With a customer base exceeding 40 million users, Banglalink serves Bangladesh with innovative products and services. Having successfully transformed itself into a nationwide digital operator, Banglalink is recognized globally for its high-quality 4G connectivity and cutting-edge digital services, further contributing to the goal of bridging the digital divide for all.
About Summit Communications Group
Summit Communications Group (SComm Group) is a group of companies headquartered in Bangladesh operating and maintaining 53,000km fiber optic network, 4500 towers and serving 35% of Bangladesh’s internet demand while building the country’s first private submarine cable. SComm Group provides telecommunications infrastructure across all 64 districts and 495 upazillas of Bangladesh maintaining an average uptime of 99.9% with state-of-the-art network topology and design.
VEON is a digital operator that provides converged connectivity and digital services to nearly 160 million customers. Operating across six countries that are home to more than 7% of the world’s population, VEON is transforming lives through technology driven services that empower individuals and drive economic growth. Headquartered in Amsterdam, VEON is listed on NASDAQ and Euronext. For more information visit: https://www.veon.com.
This release contains “forward-looking statements,” as the phrase is defined in Section 27A of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements are not historical facts, and include statements relating to, among other things, VEON’s strategy and divestment plans. Forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, many of which VEON cannot predict with accuracy and some of which VEON might not even anticipate. The forward-looking statements contained in this release speak only as of the date of this release. VEON does not undertake to publicly update, except as required by U.S. federal securities laws, any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after such dates or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
1 Recognized by Ookla® Speedtest Awards for fastest 4G internet since 2021.