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Piramal hikes Vodafone India stake

Piramal's total shareholding in the telecom firm will be approx 11 per cent," says Vodafone Group.

Written by Agencies | New Delhi | Published: February 4, 2012 12:54:18 pm

Within days of British telecom firm Vodafone winning its over USD 2 billion tax case in India,Piramal Healthcare today picked up an additional stake of about 5.5 per cent in Vodafone’s Indian arm for Rs 3,007 crore.

With this,Piramal’s total shareholding in Vodafone (India) went up to about 11 per cent.

“Piramal has agreed to purchase approximately 5.5 per cent of the issued equity share capital of Vodafone India Ltd from ETHL Communications Holdings Ltd for a cash consideration of approximately Rs 3,007 crore (385 million pounds),taking Piramal’s total shareholding in the telecom firm to approximately 11 per cent,” Vodafone Group said in a statement.

Under the deal,Piramal can exit its stake at the time of an IPO by Vodafone,which is slated to hit the primary market this year. It can also exercise an option to sell the stake back to Vodafone,besides opting to exit even if Vodafone does not go in for an IPO,the company added.

Earlier,Piramal acquired a 5.5 per cent stake in Indian joint venture Vodafone-Essar for about 640 million (nearly Rs 2,900 crore).

The additional stake buy came just weeks after Vodafone International Holdings won a major legal battle when the Supreme Court set aside a Bombay High Court verdict holding that the Income Tax department has the jurisdiction to levy Rs 11,000 crore as tax on an overseas deal.

On July 1 last year,Vodafone had announced that it would pay USD 5.46 billion for purchasing a 33 per cent stake from Essar in their joint venture Vodafone Essar Ltd (VEL).

After buying Essar’s 33 per cent,Vodafone’s stake in VEL rose to 75.35 per cent,exceeding the FDI limit of 74 per cent.

Vodafone is already planning to list its additional 1.35 per cent stake and is understood have roped in investment bank NM Rothschild to assist with the listing plans to remain compliant with the existing FDI norms in the telecom sector.

In May,2007,Vodafone acquired a 67 per cent stake in Hutchison-Essar Ltd (HEL) from Hong Kong-based Hutchison Group through companies based in the Netherlands and Cayman Islands for USD 11.2 billion.

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