Orascom says it has first right of refusal for Hutch

New Delhi: Egypt-based telecom operator Orascom which indirectly holds close to 10 per cent stake in Hutchison Essar through a 19.6 per cent stake in Hong Kong-based Hutchison, says it has first right of refusal in case the latter decides to sell equity in Hutchison Telecom International Ltd.

Sources in Orascom said HTIL would have to first check with the Egyptian company before it can execute a sale. Vodafone and Reliance have been contemplating acquiring a stake in HTIL directly instead of acquiring Hutchison Essar.

HTIL holds 67 per cent stake in Hutchison Essar. Sources also said that Orascom was willing to increase its stake in HTIL at the right price. Orascom's claims come as the Ruias' promoted Essar Group claimed right of first refusal in case Hutchison sells its stake in the Indian cellular company.

Essar's claims have however been refuted by Hutchison Telecom on grounds that the RoFR rested with Essar only in case the equity was being sold to Indian firms and not if it was sold to foreign bidders.