Ncell has paid off the full NPR22.44 billion (US$182 million) capital gains tax (CGT) bill that it was issued by Nepal’s tax authority.
In addition, the operator – which is Nepal’s second largest – has also paid a further NPR990.25 million in interest to the country’s Large Taxpayers’ Office.
The bill relates to Axiata’s acquisition of Ncell from Telia in 2016. The Malaysian firm took an 80% stake in the unit and was ordered to pay NPR62.63 billion in capital gains, although it successfully argued to reduce this to NPR45 billion, of which it had already paid NPR23 billion.
Axiata took the case to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, claiming that by demanding the tax payment, Nepal was going against its legal obligations under the bilateral investment treaty. However, Nepal’s Supreme Court ruled in the country’s favour.
In a statement, Axiata said that “Ncell’s payment of the total amount was made under protest and expressly without prejudice to Ncell and Axiata UK’s position in the international arbitration proceedings commenced by Ncell and Axiata UK against the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.”