Rostelecom buyout of Nokia JV gets approval from Putin

Rostelecom buyout of Nokia JV gets approval from Putin

Nokia has moved closer to exiting Russia, with the country’s President Vladimir Putin authorising state-backed Rostelecom to acquire the Finnish vendor’s stake in a Russian joint venture.

On Wednesday (29th May), a decree was issued authorising a subsidiary of Rostelecom to buy out Nokia’s 49% stake in the unit. The Moscow Times reports that under laws implemented in response to Western sanctions on Russia, Putin’s direct approval is required for any business transaction that would result in a Western firm leaving the market if it operates in a sector deemed strategically important by Russian’s government.

Nokia and Rostelecom launched the venture, RTC - Network Technologies, in 2018 as a vehicle to invest in various technologies, including 5G and IoT. Nokia confirmed its intention to exit Russia in April 2022 following the country’s invasion of Ukraine in February that year.

Since the invasion, Western countries have taken aim at the telecoms sector in Russia, placing sanctions on exports of technology. Russia has retaliated by implementing measures enabling it to seize the domestic assets of US-based companies and individuals, as well as taking several Western firms under ‘temporary’ control – a move decried as illegal by some of its targets.

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