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VODAFONE-HUTCHISON ESSAR.

The world's number two mobile communications firm, Vodafone, will not be taking a decision for "a few more weeks" on the Indian company Hutchison Essar, for which it does not want to pay too high a price, said its CEO Arun Sarin, on 31 January. The British group has been vying since December for a majority share in India's fourth mobile telephony operator, 67% owned by the conglomerate Hong Kong Hutchison Whampoa and 33% by the Ruia family, which owns the conglomerate Essar. There is a ceiling on foreign investments in the telecom sector in India of 74% of share capital. The transaction is estimated by analysts as being worth some US$15 billion for an enterprise value of US$22 billion. "It is the seller who sets the calendar, but I hope for the good of everyone that the deal can be closed in February," Vodafone's CEO said. Apart from Vodafone, two Indian groups, Reliance Communications, the country's second ranked mobile operator, and the conglomerate Hinduja (lorries, banking), are competing for the share. The Ruia family, which has a pre-emptive right on the Hutchison Whampoa share, is also interested.

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Publication:European Report
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Feb 2, 2007
Words:190
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