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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Star-Cell sales tripled in past year

Star-Cell sales tripled in past year

TELIASONERA, the managing company of mobile-phone provider Star-Cell, declared dividends to shareholders Wednesday, following a boom year with its Cambodian business.

Following an annual general meeting Wednesday, Stockholm-based TeliaSonera said it would issue dividends of 2.25 kroner (US$0.31) per share, after a rise in Star-Cell net sales of $4.26 million, up from $1.37 million in 2008.

The strong performance in the Cambodian market was not enough to bolster overall earnings, which fell from $2.94 billion in 2008 to $2.59 billion in 2009.

A report, issued by TeliaSonera in March, said Star-Cell recorded 195,000 subscribers , with 4 percent market share in 2009. This is up from an estimated 144,000 subscriptions for 2008.

The company was positioned fourth in the Kingdom’s crowded marketplace, according to the report. But statistics, released by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications last November, estimated Star-Cell to have the seventh-biggest share of domestic suscriber penetration.

The TeliaSonera report said the company may engage in “substantial investment and expenditure” in companies such as Star-Cell, which is also known as Applifone, to build up businesses.

“The success of these investments will depend on a variety of factors beyond TeliaSonera’s control,” the report warned, pointing to licencing concerns, market demand and competition as potential influences.

TeliaSonera has a strong presence in emerging markets, with companies operating in Nepal, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Georgia. It holds a 51 percent stake in TeliaSonera Asia Holding BV, which has a 100 percent stake in Applifone.

In 2009, around 40 percent of TeliaSonera’s net income was derived from emerging markets. Lars Nyberg, the company’s president and CEO, identified the Eurasia region, which includes Cambodia, as a “growth engine” for the business.

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