Global mobile operator Vodafone Plc, on Tuesday, moved the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), seeking approval for making an investment of Rs. 10,141 crore in the company’s Indian arm .
“Vodafone has filed an application with the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to increase its holding in Vodafone India Ltd. (VIL) from 64.38 per cent to 100 per cent,” Vodafone said in a statement here.
The telecom major said it had always maintained that it would like to increase its holding in the business. The plan to invest more demonstrated Vodafone's long-term commitment to India, it claimed. “The total inflow of foreign investment into India as a result of the proposed transactions will be approximately Rs. 10,141 crore. Following the completion of these transactions, Vodafone will also consider providing additional funding to VIL by subscribing to equity shares of VIL,” the statement added.
The UK-based mobile giant will buy the stakes of minority investors, including that of industrialist Ajay Piramal who holds 11 per cent equity in Vodafone India. The remaining 25 per cent interest is with undisclosed minority shareholders, who are understood to include Analjit Singh, Chairman of Vodafone India. Vodafone entered India in 2007 by buying out Hong Kong-based Hutchison in Hutchison Essar for $11 billion. “Vodafone will continue to invest in India to bring the benefits of mobile communications and financial inclusion to more and more people across the country,” it added.
Vodafone India is among the top five contributors to Vodafone Plc's global revenue. In India, Vodafone ranks second in terms of mobile customers. Vodafone is the first mobile operator to have applied for going solo in the Indian market under the new norms, which allow foreign telecom companies to wholly own their India units. Vodafone has been looking to buy out stakes held by its India partners as it wants to pave a smoother path for investment in the country.