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Econet May Windfall

ECONET Wireless is set for a US$3 billion windfall after the High Court in Lagos, Nigeria, dismissed an application by Indian firm Bharti Airtel to overturn an earlier ruling by

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قديم 10-06-2012, 07:37 PM
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تاريخ التسجيل: Apr 2012
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افتراضي Econet May Windfall

ECONET Wireless is set for a US$3 billion Windfall after the High Court in Lagos, Nigeria, dismissed an application by Indian firm Bharti Airtel to overturn an earlier ruling by an international arbitration tribunal in favour of the mobile telecommunications firm. The judgment paves the way for the matter to be referred back to the international commercial tribunal to set the quantum of damages and compensation that Bharti Airtel must pay to Econet.

Econet Wireless sought to overturn a transaction in which Celtel, owned by Kuwait telecomms operator Zain, acquired a 65 percent shareholding in the then Vmobile later renamed Zain Nigeria.

Econet, which has operations in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the United Kingdom, had pre-emptive rights courtesy of its 5 percent state.

In court papers, Econet Wireless had submitted a claim valued in excess of U$3 billion claiming it was denied pre-emptive rights for Celtel.

The international tribunal (comprising senior Nigerian and English lawyers) found multiple breaches of a shareholders' agreement by both the selling shareholders (Zain of Kuwait) and Celtel Nigeria.

Bharti Airtel Nigeria and Celtel (Zain) Nigeria have since been ordered to pay damages or equitable compensation to Econet Wireless (in an amount to be determined in a further round of the arbitration).

The ruling said the purchase of a 65 percent shareholding in Nigeria's second largest cellphone company, by Zain's Celtel, violated the pre-emptive rights of existing shareholder Econet Wireless.

The award of the international tribunal, established under the auspices of the United Nations, was handed down in December last year.

"In an extensive judgment, the Lagos High Court found that the International Tribunal had been correctly constituted, had jurisdiction and had acted correctly on all accounts," said Econet Wireless.

Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation with more than 155 million people, saw the number of fixed and mobile phone customers rising to 67,9 million in June 2009 from 65,5 million in January.

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