UPDATE 1-Telia to sell international carrier business for $1 bln

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STOCKHOLM, Oct 6 (Reuters) – Telia has agreed to sell its international carrier business, Telia Carrier, to Polhem Infra for 9,450 million SEK ($1.06 billion) on a cash and debt free basis, the operator said on Tuesday.

Since taking over the top job in Telia in May, Chief Executive Allison Kirkby has been streamlining the company’s operations, which included selling its stake in mobile operator Turkcell to end a long-lasting deadlock.

The appointment of Kirkby, a former CEO at rival telecom operators Tele2 and TDC, has sparked investor expectations that she can boost returns at Telia.

Telia shares have gained around 13% since Kirkby joined the firm.

“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,” Kirkby said in a statement.

Polhem Infra, founded last year, is jointly owned by the First AP Fund, Third AP Fund and Fourth AP Fund, which manage money in Sweden’s state pension system.

Telia has also decided to propose an additional dividend of 0.65 SEK/share, bringing the total dividend for 2019 back to 2.45 SEK/share, originally proposed in January. The company revised its proposal in March, due to the effects of the pandemic.

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