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FIPB clears Telenor`s proposal to up stake in Unitech Wireless

Last Updated: Sunday, August 23, 2009 - 19:31

New Delhi: The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) is believed to have cleared the proposal of Norwegian telecom firm Telenor to hike its stake in its Indian telecom joint venture Unitech Wireless, putting an end to a two-month long wait by the telco.

Telenor ASA completed acquisition of 67.25 percent stake in the JV with Indian real estate major Unitech in March. Later, the company expressed its intention to raise the stake to 74 percent- the permissible foreign investment limit in an Indian telecom firm.

The proposal had come up for the first time before the FIPB, which clears all major foreign investment proposals in India, on May 22, 2009.

The decision on allowing the investment into the company was deferred as the Ministry of Home Affairs had asked for more time to examine the deal.

The FIPB board had earlier asked the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to complete its inquiry with regard to the proposal.

Unitech Wireless, a subsidiary of the real estate major Unitech, was one of the new players who was given a license in 2008 by Telecom Minister A Raja along with several other players.

The company is planning to start telecom services by the end of 2009 in some parts of the country and has set a target of completing the footprint by next year.

Telenor has already completed the acquisition of 49 percent stake in Unitech Wireless. The company requires FIPB approval to raise its stake to 67 percent.

The Department of Telecommunications has given its no-objection, provided the credentials of the investors are verified by the Ministry of Home Affairs, as there are concerns over their operations in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, August 23, 2009 - 19:31
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