Telenor in talks for New Partner in India

Thursday, 31 May 2012, 09:33 Hrs
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New Delhi: Norwegian firm Telenor said it is in discussions to rope in a new partner for its telecom business in India before the government auctions the spectrum.

The company's Indian unit Uninor suffered a major setback after 22 of its licences were cancelled by the Supreme Court in February in the 2G spectrum allocation case.

While cancelling 122 licences in all of various telecom operators, the apex court ordered the government to conduct a fresh spectrum auction, where Telenor intends to participate with a new partner.

'We are in active discussions for partners with handful of people,' Telenor executive vice president and head of region Asia Sigve Brekke told reporters here.

Telenor operates a telecom services joint venture 'Uninor' in India with real estate major Unitech. It holds over 67 percent stake in Uninor, while the rest is with the Indian partner.

Following the cancellation of Uninor's licences, Telenor had said it planned to set up a new company.

It had also sought damages from Unitech accusing it of 'fraud and misrepresentation' of facts based on which it had invested over 6,000 crore in the joint venture.

'I am quite optimistic that we will part with all these issues prior to the auction dates. The day we go into that auction, we need to have established a new company, which has transferred assets, a company with a new partner and the old partner is out. All this needs to be in place before the auctions,' he said.

Brekke added that new partner may have 26 percent share in the new entity, as the government rules allow foreign companies to own a maximum of 74 percent stake in a telecom venture.
Source: PTI
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