FIPB rejects SSTL foreign ownership increase

17 Sep 2014

India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) has rejected Sistema Shyam Teleservices’ (SSTL’s) request to increase foreign ownership of the company beyond 74%, the Economic Times reports. The cellco’s Russian owner, Sistema, is looking to increase its stake in the operator after the Indian government increased the foreign direct investment (FDI) cap on telecom providers from 74% to 100% in July 2013, but requires FIPB approval to complete the transaction. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that SSTL applied to the FIPB to increase foreign ownership above the 74% threshold in May 2014 only to be rebuffed on the basis that SSTL’s proposal had structured the stake increase as an overseas debt deal rather than FDI. As such, the deal will require the approval of the Bank of India before the FIPB can green light the move. The Economic Times cites an unnamed government official as saying that SSTL’s most recent application also failed to specify by how much the foreign holding would be increased.

India, Russia, Sistema, Sistema Shyam TeleServices (SSTL, MTS India)