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The Delhi High Court has allowed Uninor to invite bids for selling its business and assets

Corruption costs business: you would expect that Manmohan Singh, P. Chidambaram and company to know this. If business was really their mantra then they would not have tried to sweep India’s biggest scam under the carpet of coalition dharma. Trying to right that wrong led the supreme court to cancel a large number of licences at one go. This led to foreign investors trying to withdraw from the Indian market. The bellwether case is that of Uninor, formerly a joint venture between Norway’s Telenor, which is the majority shareholder, and a minority partner, the Indian real-estate company Unitech.

About Telenor’s attempt to position itself for the upcoming spectrum auction, which was challenged by its quondam partner, ET had earlier reported:

The Company Law Board (CLB) on Friday stalled the auction of the assets of mobile phone company Uninor after minority shareholder Unitech opposed the process alleging that majority partner Telenor could be the only bidder.

The quasi-judicial body has asked Uninor and other respondents to file a reply to Unitech’s plea by Monday and will hear the matter a day later, on August 8.

Uninor said that it was “unfortunate” that the stay has been granted at a time when it was facing “a certain destruction of value when the licences will be cancelled, the only chance its employees have for sustained employment and for the customers to continue is being blocked by the minority shareholder”.

It added that it will “pursue every legal measure available to it in the Indian courts to secure the interest of the company’s creditors, customers and employees”.

Uninor, a joint venture between Norway’s Telenor and Indian real estate developer Unitech Ltd, had said that it will sell off its assets for a base price of Rs 4,000 crore and invited companies to show their interest till August 6.

Telenor had said it will buy the assets for Rs 4,190 crore. Telenor wants to split ties with Unitech and migrate its business to a new company to get fresh licences. The Supreme Court cancelled all of Uninor’s permits in February and asked it to shut operations by September 7.

The Hindu Business Line reports the next development:

The Delhi High Court has allowed Uninor to invite bids for selling its business and assets.

The court has also extended the last date for receiving expression of interest from August 6 to August 8 . However, it has asked the Company Law Board to decide the matter on merit adding that nothing will be confirmed till then.

Earlier, the CLB had stayed the proposal to auction Uninor’s assets at the behest of the Indian joint venture partner Unitech.

The High Court passed the order on Monday while hearing a plea by Uninor against the CLB order.

Reacting to the court’s order, Uninor said, “With today’s decision of the High Court of Delhi, Uninor is able to proceed with its steps towards the auction and seek expressions of interest as planned. As we have stated earlier, this auction is the only available route to ensure that Uninor’s customers, employees and business partners have a chance to continue beyond the licence cancellation date.” The CLB will hear the matter on August 8.

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

August 7, 2012 at 4:56 am

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