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Loop seeks refund of license fee along with interest

“We will surrender the licence, against the DoT making a refund of licence fee of Rs1,454 crore with interest. All our performance and financial bank guarantees may be released,” MD and CEO Sandip Basu wrote to the prime minister last week

New Delhi: Loop Telecom, one of the several firms whose licence was cancelled by the Supreme Court early this month, has written to prime minister Manmohan Singh saying it will surrender the licence if the government refunds Rs1,454 crore fee along with interest, reports PTI.

The company while seeking to highlight that interests of Indian companies too should be protected along with foreign firms, made the proposal to avoid litigation.

“We will surrender the licence, against the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) making a refund of licence fee of Rs1,454 crore with interest. All our performance and financial bank guarantees may be released,” managing director and CEO Sandip Basu wrote to the prime minister on 17th February.

He said Loop Telecom has made investment in excess of Rs3,500 crore in its business.

Holding the government responsible for cancellation of licence by the apex court, Mr Basu said that Loop Telecom is entitled to refund of licence fee of Rs1,454 crore, compensation for additional investment already made till date (approximately Rs2,000 crore) and compensation for loss of profits and damages of reputation.

Mr Basu, however, said that Loop Telecom will not file a review petition or take any other proceedings for challenging the judgement of the Supreme Court that cancelled its licences.

He added that it will not seek any compensation of Rs2,000 crore already made, damages on account of wrongful actions of the government/DoT.

“DoT and us would agree that neither party has any claim against each other and withdraw all allegations and counter allegations against each other. The government/DoT would co-operate in filing a petition before the appropriate court for closing the criminal case,” Mr Basu said.

He has asked PM to take decision on his proposals before end of time limit for filing review petition.

“Since the limitation for filing the review petition is 30 days, a decision would be required prior to the end of the limitation period,” Mr Basu said.

Loop Telecom CEO said that government should protect investment made by Indians along in the same manner in which it is trying to protect investment made by foreign companies.

“We understand that the Government of India is considering evolving a policy to protect the investments of the international investors...

“While this effort is required ... it also has to be ensured that a policy which is evolved by the government is not only protecting the investments of foreign investors but also those of the Indian investors who have also invested under the very same government policy,” Mr Basu said.

The Supreme Court judgement that cancelled 122 second generation (2G) licences included 21 licences that were allotted to company in 2008.

Loop Telecom had submitted to apex court on 9 March 2011 that it was not interested in profiteering from mispriced allocation of spectrum and had offered to return licenses issued and re-auctioned so as to establish a fair market price for the spectrum.

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Citigroup to exit HDFC, to take home over $2 billion

A senior Citigroup official said the US banking giant has decided to sell its stake in one of the best performing housing loan companies in the country as part of its ongoing capital planning efforts across geographies

Mumbai: Global banking major Citigroup is learned to have decided to offload its entire 9.8% stake in Indian mortgage major HDFC, valued at over $2 billion at current market prices, reports PTI.

A senior official at Citigroup said the US banking giant has decided to sell its stake in one of the best performing housing loan companies in the country as part of its ongoing capital planning efforts across geographies.

When contacted, the spokesperson for Citi India declined to comment on the development.

At Thursday’s closing price of HDFC scrip on BSE (Rs700.35), Citigroup is likely to net over $2 billion (Rs10,000 crore). The mortgage lender has a market capitalisation of nearly Rs1.25 lakh crore.

The stake will be sold in block deals, the Citi India official said, adding the sale process is yet to take off.

A senior official at HDFC said investors have the right to exit their investment as and when they feel.

This is the second stake sale by foreign funds in the mortgage leader in this month alone. On 2nd February, Carlyle sold 1.3% of its stake in HDFC for about $270 million (Rs1,354 crore).

Shares of financial institutions have led the rally in the BSE’s Sensex since the beginning of the current year and many a foreign institutional investor are said to be seizing upon the opportunity and selling their stakes.

Warburg Pincus had also sold about 17.5 million shares in Kotak Mahindra Bank through stock market deals to raise about $170 million.

On 8th February, Temasek Holdings, the state investment group of Singapore, sold 1.4% of its stake in India’s largest private lender ICICI Bank for $299 million, signalling that the foreign investors are using the massive rally in the Sensex as an exit opportunity.

After shedding a whopping 25% in the 2011 calendar year, thereby becoming the worst major index across the globe, both the Sensex and the Nifty have gained over 17% till date in 2012. This massive and unexpected bull-run has been driven in part by banking stocks.

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