Nepal’s Large Taxpayers Office has been ordered by the Supreme Court to determine within three months the sum owed by Malaysia’s Axiata Group relating to its acquisition of Nepalese mobile operator Ncell from Sweden’s Telia Company in 2016, with local press suggesting the tax bill could reach NPR61 billion (USD547 million). As reported by Mobile World Live, the apex court ruling – which followed a decision in favour of a public interest litigation action – also banned any Ncell dividend payments or share sales until the tax obligation is satisfied.
The tax liability specifically relates to Axiata Group unit Axiata UK’s purchase of an 80% Ncell stake via Reynolds Holdings, according to the report. Sunivera Capital holds the remaining 20% direct local shareholding, as required by Nepalese law. Axiata Group stated that it and Ncell are reviewing the latest ruling, while stressing that they ‘dutifully and responsibly complied with all relevant regulatory and legal requirements in relation to the transaction’.