Ruias sell 17 per cent in BPL for $80 million amidst arbitration

Mumbai: The Ruias of the Essar Group have sold around 17 per cent equity shares in BPL Mobile to a Mauritius firm, to raise about $80 million, amidst an ongoing arbitration with UK-based Vodafone Plc.

BPL Mobile has raised about $80 million through a stake sale to a Mauritius-based company, owned by an international institutional fund investing in emerging markets, the company said in a statement.

The proceeds have been used for BPL Mobile's expansion in Mumbai and its stake in Loop Telecom, which is a majority-owned subsidiary of BPL Mobile, the release said.

Loop Mobile recently got a pan-India mobile licence and paid a licence fee of Rs1,400 crore.

The sale comes after an arbitration panel restrained Essar group from going ahead with any stake sale in Loop Telecom. BPL, however, claimed ''This capital issuance was not in violation of the operative interim order of arbitrators.''

An arbitration panel on 5 September had ordered the Essar Group to freeze the sale of any shares in BPL Mobile Communications and its subsidiary Loop Telecom, pending the arbitration outcome.