SINGAPORE : India’s Hinduja Group is teaming up with Qatar Telecom to bid for control of fourth-largest Indian mobile operator, Hutchison Essar Ltd., said the Wall Street Journal on 8 February.
The partnership is one of four groups hoping to buy Hutchison Telecom’s 67 % stake in the Indian operator, the paper reported in its Asia edition, citing people familiar with the situation.
The Hinduja group, which owns back-office services firm Hinduja TMT, had already confirmed its interest in Hutchison Essar.Europe’s most valuable telecoms company, Vodafone Group Plc, India’s Reliance Communications Ltd. and Hutchison’s local partner Essar are also vying for the stake. The Essar group controls the remaining 33 %of the firm.
Doha-based Qatar Telecom, the sixth-largest Gulf telecoms firm, is focused on its domestic market, but hopes to expand into regions such as Africa and Asia as well as the Middle East, the Wall Street Journal said.
On 7 February the Hindustan Times newspaper said Hutchison Telecom, controlled by Hong Kong’s Hutchison Whampoa, may sell its stake through an open auction with a minimum reserve price of about $14 billion.India’s mobile phone market is growing by about 6 million users a month, although tariffs can be as low as 1 or 2 US cents a minute.