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Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Amazon moves SC against NCLT nod to Future Retail shareholders’ meet

Amazon has sought to restrain FRL’s proposed meetings of shareholders and creditors, scheduled to be held on November 10 and 11. The notices for the meetings were issued by FRL on October 11.

Written by Indu Bhan | New Delhi |
October 22, 2021 1:36:52 am

Following the order by the Singapore arbitration tribunal, Amazon.com Inc has filed a fresh plea in the Supreme Court against the National Company Law Tribunal’s (NCLT) order that allowed Future Retail (FRL) to hold meetings of its shareholders’ and creditors for seeking approval to sell its retail assets to Reliance Retail.

Amazon has sought to restrain FRL’s proposed meetings of shareholders and creditors, scheduled to be held on November 10 and 11. The notices for the meetings were issued by FRL on October 11.

Amazon told the apex court that the NCLT’s September 28 order was “in gross violation” of the SC’s September 9 order that asked statutory authorities, including NCLT, to put on hold all proceedings related to the merger deal.

The e-commerce company said that despite this operative injunction, FRL issued the notice of meetings pursuant to the NCLT order. Further, the NCLT also dismissed Amazon’s application notwithstanding the SC’s directions to refrain from doing so, it said in its application filed in the SC.

On Wednesday, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) rejected FRL’s plea to exclude itself as a party from the ongoing arbitration proceedings that Amazon had initiated after the Rs 24,000-crore deal was proposed between Future Group and Reliance Retail. The SIAC said FRL is a “proper party” to the ongoing dispute between Amazon and Future Coupons and the three agreements at the heart of the Future-Amazon dispute must be read together, and not separately.

It also stated that it “has jurisdiction over FRL in this arbitration,” the stand which is in line with the SC judgment of August 6 which had held that an award of an Singapore Emergency Arbitrator (EA) is enforceable under the Indian Arbitration and Conciliation Act, while dismissing the argument put forward by FRL that an EA is not an arbitrator under the Indian law as the term does not find any mention in the statute.

“Despite pointing out that one of the transferor companies, namely FRL to the composite scheme, which is subject matter of the FRL application, is currently subject to an injunction order restraining it from transferring its retail assets contemplated in the composite scheme, the NCLT dismissed the Amazon application as premature,” Amazon’s plea said. —FE

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