Global telecom major Vodafone’s minority partner in India, Analjit Singh, may take over as the chairman of the group’s Indian operations, after Essar group exits the venture.
Reports of Singh, who holds 6.2 per cent stake in Vodafone Essar, becoming the chairman could not be independently confirmed. When contacted, Vodafone Essar said refused to comment. Vodafone has bought the 33 per cent stake of the Essar Group at about $5.46 billion, following which Ravi Ruia has quit the chairmanship of Vodafone Essar.
Vodafone had earlier said the company is in talks with Singh and other investors to decide on who would pick up the 1.5 per cent stake in its Indian venture. To comply with the Indian FDI rules of 74 per cent in the telecom segment, Vodafone will need an Indian investor to pick up this stake. The rest of the stake is being held by IDFC. Vodafone is battling an income tax case of about $2.5 billion on its acquisition of Hutchinson in 2007. The case is scheduled for hearing in the Supreme Court later this month.
While speaking to Business Standard, Vodafone Plc Group Chief Financial Officer Andy Halford had said: “The Essar deal will be finalised in nine months. We are talking to Analjit Singh, who is already a partner, and have got interest from a number of parties. We can give the stake to an existing investor or a new one.”