Vodafone, Essar close to partnership agreement

New Delhi: Before signing a new partnership agreement, senior Vodafone and Essar executives held joint meetings with officials in the government, including the finance ministry.

Paul Donovan, chief executive officer (emerging markets) from Hutch came to the meeting while from Essar, vice-chairman Ravi Ruia, accompanied by Prashant Ruia and Rewant Ruia, attended.

Sources said things were moving towards a positive outcome for the Essars and the two sides were expected to "shake hands shortly." In fact, the terms of the partnership agreement, including a four-year put option, are learnt to have been finalised and an announcement is likely in a couple of days.

Sources said that most issues have been resolved between Essar and Vodafone and the meetings with government officials are partly aimed at providing them the information they had sought, as also to allay any misgivings.

All three parties involved – Vodafone, Essar and Hutchison Telecom, which recently sold its stake to Vodafone – appear keen to resolve the issue and avoid legal complications and investigations.