Info-tech

Tata-DoCoMo dispute: Japanese firm seeks $1.17-b worth assets to settle case

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on October 18, 2016

Tata DOCOMO signage 1 (1)

Wants the assets transferred to it outside India

Japan’s NTT DoCoMo has sought the transfer of assets worth $1.17 billion from Tata Group, its estranged joint venture partner, in a bid to reach an out-of-court settlement in an ongoing legal tussle.

The amount is equivalent to what the London-based arbitration court had asked Tata Sons to pay NTT DoCoMo.

The Japanese company has asked Tata Sons to transfer the assets either in the US, the UK or any location outside India, three sources told BusinessLine.

“The companies were looking to settle the issue amicably through negotiations and had held multiple discussions for an out-of-court settlement. It was during one of these talks that NTT DoCoMo put forward such a suggestion,” one of the sources said.

“This was one of the many demands that cropped up during the talks,” another source said, adding that Tata Sons has not responded to the request.

Meanwhile, the Tatas have deposited $1.17 billion with the Delhi High Court saying it is unable to pay the penalty amount to the Japanese company as Indian regulations do not permit it.

Sources close to the Tata camp said the company was losing about ₹2 crore per day in interest for the money deposited with the court. They added that transfer of assets, as proposed by DocoMo, is illegal both under the RBI guidelines and the New York Arbitration Convention.

The sources declined to be identified as the talks were private. When contacted, a Tata Sons spokesperson declined to comment, stating the matter is sub-judice; the India-based representative of NTT DoCoMo also did not comment.

In June, the London Court of International Arbitration ordered Tata Sons to pay $1.17 billion in damages to NTT DoCoMo for breaching an agreement related to their telecom joint venture firm Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTSL).

The dispute dates back to January 2015, when NTT DoCoMo filed an arbitration stating that the Tatas failed to find a buyer, as stated in the shareholders’ agreement for its stake in TTSL.

The case is currently being heard by the Delhi High Court, and courts in the US and the UK.

In April 2014, NTT DoCoMo announced plans to sell its entire stake in TTSL, exiting India five years after it forayed into the country. The exit came after the Indian company failed to achieve certain performance targets.

In 2009, NTT DoCoMo had acquired a 26.5 per cent stake in TTSL for $2.7 billion (₹13,070 crore at the then exchange rate).

The dispute dates back to January 2015, when NTT DoCoMo filed for arbitration stating that the Tatas failed to find a buyer, as stated in the shareholders’ agreement for its stake in





Published on October 18, 2016

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