TeliaSonera's Board Reconfirms Group Strategy and Tightens Risk Management
During a meeting today, TeliaSonera's board reconfirmed its commitment to the company's current strategy despite the ongoing concerns about its investments in Central Asia. In a statement, the board said that it takes full responsibility for existing and future investment and will continue to be leading player in the Nordic and Baltic markets and will strengthen operations in Central Asia.
The company said that its presence in difficult markets such as Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan contributes to the long term development of democracy and human rights.
"The areas of telecommunications and human rights bring conflicts of interest and difficult decisions. However, the board is convinced that the positive aspects of mobile communications by far outweigh the negative aspects. It would not help the people of these countries if TeliaSonera was to withdraw", said the chairman of the board Anders Narvinger.
"We have full confidence in CEO Lars Nyberg and his management team, as well as their implementation of the Group's strategy," he continued.
The board has decided to tighten its risk management processes for major investments, in order to ensure that the strategy can be implemented in a manner that is in line with the company's code of ethics and conduct as well as UN and OECD guidelines on corruption and human rights.
"A prerequisite for making any investments is that we can do it in a financially and ethically sustainable way. At the same time, the position we are currently in has revealed that we need to sharpen our guidelines and processes for making investments. Work to develop these new guidelines has already begun and they will come into full force on 1 January 2013, but they will also affect ongoing investment processes," said Mr Narvinger.
TeliaSonera's strategy means that the company does business in some of the world's most challenging markets when it comes to corruption and violations of human rights. The board and management have recently announced significant new measures to sharpen focus on these issues.
During the rest of 2012 the board will work closely with former Ambassador Tomas Bertelman and devote its full energy to addressing the difficult tradeoffs involved in conducting business in Central Asia. The starting point for this work will be TeliaSonera's own Code of Ethics and Conduct and the guidelines drawn up by the UN and OECD. The board will also assist Mannheimer Swartling and its managing partner Biörn Riese in the legal review he is conducting.