Norwegian operator, Telenor, has paid US$1.8 billion to creditors of its Indian joint venture, Uninor. In a statement, Telenor blamed estranged partner Unitech for the parlous state of affairs.
The move follows Uninor’s creditors issuing default notices. Telenor, the majority shareholder, accuses Unitech of attempting to prevent payments from itself, Uninor, and Telenor.
Telenor and Unitech are currently embroiled in a legal battle over the disposal of Uninor’s assets. Unitech allege that Telenor is illegally seeking to auction off Uninor, possibly to one of its own subsidiaries or partners, as a means of cutting them out of the partnership.
Relations between the two joint venture partners are understood to have become increasingly fractious following India’s notorious 2G auction. It remains to be seen how Telenor’s payments will affect court proceedings and whether they will impact upon the relative stakes in Uninor of the two joint venture partners.