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Hutch sees India sale being concluded soon

Telecoms giant expects its planned sale of Indian assets to Vodafone Plc to be concluded soon.

Hutchison Telecommunications is in full compliance with investment regulations in India and expects its planned sale of Indian assets to Vodafone Plc to be concluded soon, its chief, Dennis Lui, told reporters in Jakarta on Thursday.

Last month Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd (HTIL) agreed to sell its majority stake in Hutchison Essar, India's fourth-ranked mobile services provider, to Vodafone Group Plc for $11.1 billion. The deal has yet to be approved by Indian authorities.

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

"We believe that it is essential for the Indian government to take essential steps to actually set their approval for Vodafone soon," Lui told reporters during the launch of Hutchison's services in Indonesia.

"And it should not take too long for the sale to be concluded."

HTIL controlled 67% of the joint venture, with India's Essar Group holding the rest. The Indian authorities are looking into the ownership structure of the HTIL stake to see if it complied with foreign investment laws.

Foreign ownership of telecoms companies in India is capped at 74%.

Two-thirds of the Essar group's stake is held by group firms overseas, which counts as foreign ownership.

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