NORWAY’S TELENOR BUYS 7% MORE IN UNITECH ARM FOR RS 2KCR

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NORWAY’S Telenor has said that it has bought 7% more in Unitech Wireless for a little over 2,000 crore. Telenor now holds 67.25% in Unitech Wireless.

   Last year, Telenor agreed with Unitech to buy 67.25% in its wireless arm for about Rs 6,120 crore and had said this investment would be made in four phases. Telenor has now completed its four-stage stake buy and has invested a total of Rs 6,135 crore in Unitech Wireless.

   In December 09, Unitech Wireless, which provides mobile services under the Uninor brand launched cellular services with tariffs as low as 29 paise per minute for local calls and 49 paise for long distance calls, further intensifying the ongoing price war in the telecom market.

   The telco currently offers services in eight of the 22 telecom circles in the country and is currently undertaking the second round of expansion, where it would add another 3-6 regions.

   “This injection of equity will provide Uninor working capital to continue the roll out of services in new circles, and to secure customer growth in the circles where Uninor is already available,” said Sigve Brekke, executive vice-president, and head of Telenor Group Asian operations.

   Telenor paid the first tranche of Rs 1,370 crore in March 09, followed by Rs 1,250 crore in May, taking its stake in Uninor to 49%.

   The Norwegian major then increased its holdings by 11% for Rs 1,493 crore in January 2010 to further hike its stake to 60.1%. Indian realty firm Unitech, which holds the remaining stake in the telco said in a statement that it has received the money for acquisition of the final 7.15%.

   While Telenor has got approvals from Indian regulators to increase its stake in Unitech Wireless to 74%, the Norwegian major maintained that it has no plans to hike its holdings beyond the current 67.25%.

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