Vodafone denies clearing its Indian unit to move to an IPO, but says it hasn’t ruled out the move as one of several options for the business.
A spokesman this morning told Telecoms Europe.net nothing has been shored up for the Indian business at this stage, in response to a Wall Street Journal report claiming preparations for a flotation are already underway.
“We have no firm plans for an IPO at this point, although we continue to consider options for this,” the spokesman says.
Vodafone first suggested the possibility of an IPO in April, after buying out former joint venture partner Essar's stake in the company for $5 billion (€3.7 billion). An IPO would ensure Vodafone complies with local laws that restrict foreign ownership in Indian companies to 74%.
The operator’s decision may, ultimately rest by the verdict in a long-running tax battle with the Indian government, which India's Supreme Court is expected to rule on this month.
A lower court found in the government's favor last year, rejecting Vodafone's appeal against the $2.6 billion tax bill it accrued from the purchase of its stake in the Indian venture from Hutchison in 2007.