Essar not interested in Nokia’s Chennai plant

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on January 23, 2018 Published on May 21, 2015


Essar has said it is not interested in acquiring Nokia's phone making plant in Chennai. This once again brings uncertainity to the fate of the factory, which once used to employ 8,000 directly and 30,000 indirectly.

Essar Group executives had visited the plant recently and had expressed interest in buying the factory once the tax authorities lifted the freeze. However, the delay in getting the tax dispute resolved has taken a toll.

"Essar confirms that it is no longer pursuing the deal and therefore categorically denies the media speculation around this subject," said a company spokesperson.

There were at least 3 companies who had shown interest in buying Nokia's plant but all of them have now pulled out of the race.

On Wednesday, the Delhi High Court had agreed to hear Nokia's petition earlier than it was scheduled. A bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva agreed to hear the matter on May 26, instead of September 7 fixed earlier, after Nokia told the court it has found a buyer for its Chennai factory. That buyer was considered to be Essar.

Earlier, Nokia said it has received expressions of interest from multiple entities to acquire its mobile handset manufacturing plant in Sriperumbudur, near Chennai.

Speaking to BusinessLine, Rajeev Suri, President and CEO of Nokia Corporation, had said he was confident of getting the factory released by the tax authorities to conclude the sale deal.

“We are working on de-freezing the asset. We have good, strong buyers. I am confident both these things will happen in the not-too-distant future. If we get this plant in the right hands, it will have a positive impact on the entire ‘Make in India’ programme,” he had said in February.

Nokia could not include the Chennai factory in its sale deal with Microsoft after tax authorities slapped a notice on it for alleged violation of withholding tax norms since 2006.

While Nokia has challenged the tax order in court, it has also been urging the Government to de-link the tax issue from the manufacturing plant.

Nokia said that it is committed to finding a buyer. “Throughout this process, we haven't discussed potential buyers for Chennai due to confidentiality reasons, so we cannot comment on this particular case. Nokia remains committed to finding a buyer for the site," Nokia said in a statement

Published on May 21, 2015
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