Vodafone Sees $11.1 Billion Indian Deal on Track

Wednesday, 28 Mar 2007 | 4:40 AM ET

Vodafone Group on Wednesday brushed off an Indian newspaper report that government regulators might delay its $11.1 billion planned acquisition of India's fourth-largest mobile phone operator, Hutchison Essar.

"We remain on track and still expect to close in the second quarter, as originally expected," a spokesman said. Shares in Hutchison Essar's vendor Hutchison Telecommunications Ltd fell sharply on Wednesday as dealers worried that the deal with British-based Vodafone, the world's largest mobile operator by sales, might be hampered.

India's Economic Times daily reported on Tuesday that the Indian government was investigating the structure of the deal to see if it contravened caps on foreign ownership.

Vodafone's Indian-born Chief Executive Arun Sarin plans to rebrand the Indian company Vodafone Essar and expects the operator to become the market leader of one of the world's fastest-growing mobile phone markets in three years.

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