Cellphone deal beset by 'legals'

THE proposed tie-up between South African mobile phone group MTN and Bharti Airtel is being held up by legal problems in India, President Jacob Zuma said yesterday.

THE proposed tie-up between South African mobile phone group MTN and Bharti Airtel is being held up by legal problems in India, President Jacob Zuma said yesterday.

Zuma did not clarify what the hitches are, but Indian financial daily Economic Times reported this week that South Africa is pressing India for an agreement on dual listing of the companies before the deadline.

The Indian government has said it was open to a dual listing on Indian and South African bourses.

The Bharti/MTN transaction, which would create the world's third-largest mobile group by subscribers, is subject to an end-September deadline.

"I am told there are hitches in terms of the law, particularly on the Indian side because you are talking about companies that must come together," Zuma said in Cape Town.

Vice president of research at BRICS Securities in Mumbai Sonam Udasi said: "India has stated it has no issues with the deal, the only problem is the dual listing. Both countries want ownership of their telecom assets to remain in their own countries." - Reuters

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