Hutch may seek shareholders' nod for stake sale on Feb 15 | india | Hindustan Times
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Hutch may seek shareholders' nod for stake sale on Feb 15

india Updated: Jan 30, 2007 17:54 IST

Hutchison Telecom International Ltd (HTIL) is believed to have called a meeting of shareholders on February 15 to seek their approval for the proposed sale of its 67 per cent stake in India's Hutch-Essar.

The meeting to seek shareholders' permission could be called either an annual general meeting or as an extraordinary general meeting as decided by HTIL, sources said.

HTIL will have to file the outcome of the meeting with the regulatory authorities.

Considering that Hutchison Whampoa group holds majority stake in HTIL with Egyptian mobile operator Orascom holding 19 per cent and public and some other Foreign Institutional Investors holding some stake, the shareholders approval should not be a difficult task.

HTIL will have to explain the rationale of exiting its most profitable market to the shareholders.

When contacted, an HTIL spokesperson declined to comment saying: "We do not discuss shareholders matters".

Once the shareholders give the go-ahead, HTIL board can look at the offers which could be in the form of formal bids after that.

British mobile major Vodafone has said that it would submit a formal offer in the second week of February. The other interested parties are HTIL's 33 per cent Indian partner Essar group and the Hinduja group.

These three companies have offered preliminary bids so far, while another suitor Reliance Communications is understood to have completed due diligence.

HTIL's board is said to have taken stock of the current position on Monday for selling its 67 per cent stake in Indian mobile venture Hutch-Essar at a Board meeting.

HTIL already has indicated that it would not look at bids below 14 billion dollar and Vodafone, according to investment banking sources, would not overstretch itself to acquire the stake.

Once it secures shareholders' approval, the HTIL Board is likely to fix a timeframe to consider formal bids after consulting its parent Hutchison Whampoa.

The Reliance Board is scheduled to meet on January 30 to discuss its quarterly results and Vodafone would announce its key performance indicators for the quarter ended on December 2006 on the same day, sources said, adding that the Hutch-Essar bid is expected to hog the limelight at both the companies meetings.