5 percent of Airtel’s subsidiary in the African nation belongs to Econet Wireless, well, that is according the the Nigeria court of law.
Econet Wireless Nigeria (EWN) has sought damages and compensation of about $3 billion. Airtel said it will appeal against the judgement before the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
“Bharti Airtel, a 79.06 percent shareholder in Airtel Nigeria is not satisfied with the judgement of the Court of Appeal, Lagos, delivered on Feb 14 and will lodge an appeal against that decision at the Supreme Court of Nigeria,” Airtel said.
The Indian company said the disputed shares are in an escrow account and the judgement would have no impact on the stake of Bharti Airtel or other Airtel Nigeria shareholders. Airtel Nigeria is part of the African telecom business that Bharti Airtel acquired from Zain for about $10.7 billion.
“Airtel Nigeria has already launched an appeal before the Supreme Court of Nigeria against the judgement of the Court of Appeal in Kaduna in the matter relating to Econet’s claim for 5 percent shares in Airtel Nigeria,” the statement said. “We would like to unequivocally state that neither of these orders of the Courts of Appeals in Lagos and in Kaduna deal with the quantum of damages and no such quantum has been determined.”
The dispute dates back to 2003, when EWN says a series of improper decisions were taken by Nigerian members of the company, which resulted in the cancellation of Econet Wireless Ltd’s (EWL) shares in EWN, deletion of its name from the register of shareholders and change of name to Vee Mobile Networks.
On 24 January 2012, the Federal High Court of Nigeria ruled that EWL’s shareholding in the company must be reinstated, according to the company’s website. It added that the judgement also said the name of the company, now Bharti Airtel Nigeria, should revert to EWN and all decisions in which EWL was entitled to participate as a shareholder but was prevented from doing so, are null and void.