OSLO (Reuters) - Norwegian telecoms operator Telenor is exploring the sale of its Myanmar unit, industry publication TMT Finance reported on Thursday, and has hired Citi to sell the business, with non-binding bids due in the coming weeks.
A Telenor spokesperson said the company does not "comment on market rumours". Citi declined to comment.
Telenor wrote off the value of its Myanmar operation in May in light of the deteriorating security and human rights situation in the country, where its mobile business remains severely restricted following the Feb. 1 military coup.
Some Chinese buyers are also being invited to bid, TMT Finance said, which would likely not be subject to international sanctions faced by other international telecom companies.
TMT said the other foreign operator in Myanmar, Qatar's Ooredoo, had shown interest in buying its market peer and was looking to find a financial adviser for the forthcoming process.
Ooredoo was not immediately available for comment.
A source with direct knowledge of the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed to Reuters that the detail of the TMT Finance report was accurate.
Telenor has around 18 million customers in Myanmar, serving a third of its 54 million population. It is one of the biggest foreign investors in Myanmar, which it entered in 2014.
Myanmar accounted for 7% of Telenor's earnings last year.
(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche and Victoria Klesty in Oslo, Fanny Potkin in Singapore and Saeed Azhar in Dubai; Editing by Jan Harvey)