Vodafone eyes India IPO

Steve Dinneen
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VODAFONE is to look into a possible IPO of its majority-owned Indian venture Vodafone Essar, it said yesterday.

Chief executive Vittorio Colao said in an interview that the firm would consider the move in the next nine to 12 months.

It follows the mobile operator’s withdrawal from the partnership of Essar Group, which has opted to exercise an option to sell a 33 per cent stake in the venture.

Vodafone will pay in the region of $5bn (£3bn) in cash for Essar Group’s stake, which will boost its holding in the entity to around 75 per cent.

It is thought the IPO decision will rest on the outcome of a long-running tax case with Indian authorities worth around $2.6bn.

The action relates to the $11.2bn purchase of Hutchison Telecom’s operations in 2007. If the case is lost Vodafone may reconsider its investment in India.