Norwegian telecom firm ‘will challenge the order'

The Company Law Board has allowed Unitech to take its dispute with its joint venture partner, Telenor, to an international arbitrator in Singapore.

While Telenor had opposed the proposal to go for an arbitration, the real estate major was of the view that it could get a resolution only through an arbitration.

The Norwegian telecom company said it will challenge the CLB order. “We are yet again surprised at the order of the CLB. We will certainly challenge this order in a higher court, as we have successfully done on matters earlier,” said a Telenor spokesperson.

‘NO CHANGE IN PLAN'

Telenor said that there was no change in its plan to form a new company as a platform for the future and transfer all Uninor assets, employees and customers to it.

Unitech had approached the CLB opposing this move from Telenor. The real estate major said it was pleased that the CLB has accepted its plea and respected the shareholders' agreement which clearly defines the dispute resolution mechanism for settlement of the issues relating to the shareholders' agreement.

“We are not surprised with Telenor's reaction on the CLB order which is nothing but continuation of its past conduct of complete disregard to the rights of minority shareholders and terms of the agreements signed between the shareholders,” Unitech said.

Ownership issue

The two joint venture partners have been involved in a spat over ownership issue. But the wrangling started over a year ago when Telenor proposed a Rs 8,000-crore rights issue.

This was opposed by Unitech on grounds that there were other means of raising funds. The fight intensified after the Supreme Court in a February 2 order cancelled 122 licences on grounds that they were given illegally.

The Norwegian major sought to distance itself from the allegations by putting the onus on its Indian partner to clear the air. Telenor also sought compensation from Unitech for damages caused to their mobile venture. Telenor also announced that it was forming a new company in India and would shift its existing business. Unitech, however, wants a fair value for its share in the venture.

tkt@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on April 12, 2012)
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