VODAFONE yesterday completed the €900m (£814m) sale of its 24.4 per cent stake in Poland’s Polkomtel.
The deal, which values the Polish company at around €3.6bn, is the latest in a string of high-profile Vodafone disposals. It has already sold its minority interest in China Mobile for £4.3bn and in Japan’s Softbank for £3.1bn. Meanwhile, Vodafone chief financial officer Andy Halford said the firm’s liabilities over its ongoing tax dispute with Indian authorities could double to $5bn (£3bn).
The world’s largest telecoms operator has placed $2.5bn in an escrow account pending the resolution of the dispute but has not set aside the penalty fees that could be applied.
Vodafone says it is still confident it will win the dispute, which centres around the $11.2bn purchase of Hutchison Telecom’s operations in 2007. The action could have far-reaching ramifications for Vodafone in India, with the firm unlikely to press ahead with a planned IPO of a stake in its Essar venture if the case is lost.