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Scandinavia creates telecom giant

TELIA AND Telenor, the state-owned telecoms providers in Sweden and Norway, yesterday announced plans to merge in a move that will create Europe's sixth-largest telecoms group. The Swedish and Norwegian governments said the deal would allow the combined company to compete with larger rivals such as Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom in the liberalised markets of continental Europe.

The Swedish government will own 60 per cent of the shares in the company, which will have combined revenues of 80bn Swedish krone (pounds 6.3bn). The new company will be partially privatised before the end of 2000.