Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma signalled on Thursday that the government would be supportive in aiding the $23-billion merger-of-sorts between India’s Bharti Airtel and South Africa’s MTN in the telecom industry as officials from both nations headed into talks aimed at unlocking regulatory glitches in the deal.
At the heart of the tangle is the two-country listing of shares which invites mandatory purchases under Indian law.
Sharma said dual listing as sought by South Africa, may not be possible as it needs a policy change on rupee convertibility.
“At this stage nobody is in a position to talk about the policy change on convertibility. However, the government will always be supportive of the initiative by an Indian company for an overseas transaction and acquisition,” said Sharma.
The deadline for exclusive talks between the two companies end on September 30. The deadline may be extended.
A South African adelegation met officials of capital market regulator SEBI and RBI.
The South African delegation comprising officials from the National Treasury and the South African Reserve Bank, discussed regulatory and other issues. SEBI Executive Director Usha Narayanan, Wholetime Member Prashant Saran and Reserve Bank Chief General Manager S Gangadharan and other officials attended the meeting.