| 24 May 2024, Friday |

Telenor’s future in Myanmar in jeopardy due to a military coup

Telenor’s company in Myanmar has been in limbo after Myanmar’s military forced telecoms companies to shut down their networks in an attempt to end demonstrations against the country’s February coup.

Telenor, one of the few Western companies to bet on the South East Asian nation since it emerged from military dictatorship a decade ago, had to write off $783 million this week due to the country’s return to army rule (TEL.OL).

The Norwegian state-controlled company, one of Myanmar’s largest foreign investors, must now determine whether to ride out the turbulence or exit a sector that contributed 7% of its earnings last year.

“We are facing many dilemmas,” Telenor Chief Executive Sigve Brekke told Reuters this week, highlighting the stark problems facing international firms under increased scrutiny over their exposure in Myanmar, where hundreds have been killed in protests against the Feb. 1 coup.

While Telenor plans to stay for now, the future is uncertain, Brekke said in a video interview.

Although Telenor had won praise for supporting what at the time was a fledgling democracy, activist groups have long voiced concerns about business ties to the military, which have intensified since the army retook control of the country.

  • Reuters