Companies

Amazon files fresh plea in SC against Future Retail

Forum Gandhi Mumbai | Updated on October 21, 2021

Seeks to stop Kishore Biyani-group firm from calling for shareholders’ meeting

Armed with a favourable ruling from a Singapore tribunal, Amazon has filed a fresh petition in the Supreme Court seeking to halt Future Retail from calling for a shareholders’ meeting to seek approval for its ₹25,000-crore deal with Reliance Retail.

Amazon said in its petition that an order by the NCLT allowing Future Retail to hold shareholders’ meeting is in violation of an earlier order passed by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court had put a blanket stay on all the proceedings in the Indian courts, including the NCLT. It also stalled the Future Retail and Reliance deal until a final order is passed by the Singapore tribunal.

Pending proceedings

In a 14-page petition filed by the e-commerce giant, it was alleged that the Supreme Court order was passed with the consent of the parties, including the Future Group companies and its promoters, and was intended to maintain status quo in light of the pending arbitration proceedings. A copy of the petition was reviewed by BusinessLine.

“While the applicant (Amazon) requested NCLT to hold back the order in due deference to the Supreme Court order, Future Retail opposed the applicant’s requests for such deferment. Thus, the NCLT order aids the contravention of the undertaking given to this court,” the Amazon petition said.

Balancing interests

The Supreme Court order was passed to “balance the interest of both the parties” and to preserve the sanctity of the arbitration proceedings pending before the Arbitral Tribunal. The NCLT order, on the other hand, “has an effect exactly converse to the one intended by this court and seeks to materially alter the status quo to the prejudice of the applicant.”

It appealed to the court to pass an interim order barring both companies from going ahead with the procedure of the meetings.

Amazon dragged Kishore Biyani-owned Future Retail and Future Coupon to the Singapore International Arbitration Tribunal (SIAC) last year opposing a deal between Future Retail and Reliance Retail.

In 2019, Amazon had invested ₹1,400 crore in Future Coupons Private Limited (FCPL). According to Amazon, it had signed an agreement where Future Retail (a sister concern of FCPL) could not strike a deal with “restricted companies”, including Reliance Industries and its companies.

On Wednesday, SIAC passed an order stating that Future Retail was bound by the agreement between Amazon and FCPL.

Published on October 21, 2021

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