More reports on: Tata Group, Telecom

Tata pays $1.26 bn to DoCoMo in final settlement of dispute

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01 November 2017

Ending a two-year-old dispute, Tata Sons paid 144.9 billion ($1.26 billion) to Japanese firm NTT DoCoMo, which ended the Indian telecom joint venture. The amount includes the arbitration award, interest earned and other costs awarded.

In a statement on its website, NTT DoCoMo said it has ''received from Tata Sons payment of the award amount in accordance with the High Court of Delhi's decision regarding DOCOMO's stake in Tata Teleservices Ltd''.

Concurrent with the receipt of the amount, all shares in TTSL held by DoCoMo have been transferred to Tata Sons and companies designated by Tata Sons, it added.

In February, Tata Sons had said it had reached an agreement with NTT DoCoMo ''on a joint approach to enable enforcement'' of a compensation award granted by the London Court of International Arbitration in 2016 in favour of the Japanese company (See: Tata Sons, DoCoMo to settle $1.17-bn dispute out of court).

However, the Reserve Bank of India objected to the transfer. The RBI's stand was rejected by the Delhi High Court in April, thus allowing Tatas to honour the payment of $1.18 billion.

In November 2009, DoCoMo acquired a 26.5 per cent stake in TTSL for Rs12,740 crore at Rs117 per share on the understanding that if it exited the venture within five years, it would be paid at least 50 per cent of the purchase price.

But in 2014, when Docomo decided to exit the venture seeking a price Rs58 per share, or Rs7,200 crore, from Tata Sons, the latter denied the claim. The company, then under the chairmanship of Cyrus Mistry, offered Rs23.34 per share in line with the RBI guidelines, which state that an international firm can only exit its investment at a valuation ''not exceeding that arrived at on the basis of return on equity''.

The Japanese firm then took the Tatas into international arbitration where it won the $1.18-billion award. It filed a plea in the Delhi High Court seeking enforcement of the ruling (See: DoCoMo dispute: Tata Sons to deposit $1.2-bn arbitration award with Delhi HC).

Earlier this year, Tata Sons, following the induction of N Chandrasekaran as chairman, had reached an agreement with NTT Docomo ''on a joint approach to enable enforcement'' of a compensation award granted by the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) in 2016 in favour of the Japanese company.

Resolving the telecom business was the top priority for the Tata Group after Chandrasekaran took charge in February as within a week of his appointment, the Tata Sons board decided to withdraw its objections in the Delhi High Court to the enforcement of the award in India.

Debt-laden TTSL last month said it would sell its consumer mobile business to Bharti Airtel, thereby exiting from mobile telephony market in India.





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