Norwegian telecommunications major Telenor Group has sought Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval to increase its stake in the Indian unit to 100 per cent. The company will invest an additional Rs 780 crore to increase its stake in the Uninor from the present 74 per cent.
The company has filed an application with FIPB. The company will use the Rs 780-crore investment to acquire the 26 per cent stake held by Lakshdeep Investments, a financial investor in the company.
Uninor has participated in two separate auctions to acquire spectrum in in seven circles that together represent more than half of India's population.
This year, Uninor has announced an additional investment of Rs 500 crore towards expansion of its network and distribution infrastructure by 30 per cent.
The company has now emerged as the fourth largest mobile operator by both customer and revenues share in its best circles. It now has more than 30 million subscribers and is set to launch services in its newest circle of Assam this year.
The move comes after the Indian government allowed complete Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the telecom sector.
In August 2013, Indian government approved 100 per cent FDI in the telecom sector, of which up to 49 per cent was through automatic route and beyond after FIPB approvals.
Following the opening up of the sector to foreign investments, British telecom major Vodafone Group raised its stake in its Indian subsidiary Vodafone India to 100 per cent.
Russia's Sistema JSFC had also sought FIPB approval to hike its stake in Indian unit Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd from the present 74 per cent. AT&T was another company looking at increasing its stake in Indian subsidiary.
At present, AT&T Inc, along with its subsidiaries, hold 74 per cent in AT&T Global Networks Services India, while the balance 26 per cent is held by Mahindra Telecommunications Investment Pvt Ltd.