Telenor signs new Indian partner - Mobile World Live

Telenor signs new Indian partner

26 OCT 2012

Nordic-based operator group Telenor announced a deal with a new Indian partner, Lakshdeep Investments & Finance, a company controlled by Sudhir Valia.

The Sun Pharmaceutical executive’s vehicle is to buy 26 percent of Telewings, the new Indian business owned by Telenor following its acrimonious split from previous local partner Unitech.

In a statement, the operator said that the investment has been made by Valia “in his personal capacity”.

India’s Economic Times said ahead of the deal that the stake would be taken by the Sun Pharma “promoter family”, led by Dilip Shanghvi.

Shanghvi is MD of Sun Pharma, while Valia is executive director – and the pair are apparently brothers-in-law.

According to reports, the deal will enable Telenor to comply with India’s foreign investment rules, which limit the ownership levels of foreign companies.

Telenor said it will maintain operational control and, on receipt of necessary approvals, the assets of its Unitech Wireless (Uninor) business will be transferred “for seamless continuity of operations”.

Telewings has already applied for prequalification to participate in the upcoming spectrum auction. Telenor said that “a final decision on whether to participate or not will be made before the auction starts”.

Telenor finally agreed its spit with Unitech earlier this month, following a dispute which began last year – and exacerbated by the Indian government’s cancellation of Uninor’s licences earlier this year.

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Steve Costello

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