Vodafone contests DoT on fee for extra spectrum, 3G roaming

“...Any suggestion or action on the part of DoT or TRAI to charge one-time fee on 2G spectrum beyond 6.2 Mhz is legally untenable as the consideration has already been paid and is being paid in form of higher spectrum usage charges,” TV Ramachandran, resident director regulatory affairs and government relations of Vodafone India, told reporters

New Delhi: British telecom firm Vodafone’s Indian arm on Monday contested the proposal of a one-time charge for extra spectrum held by service providers beyond the contracted limit of 6.2 Mhz, saying this is in violation of the contract, reports PTI.

“...Any suggestion or action on the part of the Department of Telecom (DoT) or the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to charge one-time fee on second generation (2G) spectrum beyond 6.2 Mhz is legally untenable as the consideration has already been paid and is being paid in form of higher spectrum usage charges,” TV Ramachandran, resident director regulatory affairs and government relations of Vodafone India, told reporters.

Meanwhile, on the contentious issue of roaming pact among leading service providers to offer 3G mobile services, the company seems to have hardened its stand by stating that they are ready to return the 3G spectrum to the government and will take back the money if the roaming pact is not allowed.

“Department of Telecom cannot go back on permission for 3G roaming. We are open to returning spectrum if 3G roaming pact among the service providers is not allowed,” he said.

“A licensee may enter into mutual commercial agreements for intra service area roaming facilities with other licensed cellular mobile telephone service licensees/unified access service licensees. Further, TRAI can also prescribe tariffs or charges for such facilities within the provisions of TRAI Act, 1997 as amended from time to time,” he said quoting the License Amendment of 12 June 2008.

However, the company continued to be bullish about business in India and hoped that there would be regulatory clarity on all issues.

“In terms of business in India we are very bullish on the market and we are also hopeful that regulatory clarity on some of the issues will be there by the department,” Vodafone India strategy director Samaresh Parida said.

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RBI allows banks, NBFCs to float infra debt funds

Banks and NBFCs will now be able to sponsor IDFs, which can be set up either as Mutual Funds (MFs) or NBFCs, as per the guidelines issued by the RBI on Monday

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Monday issued guidelines on Infrastructure Debt Funds (IDFs) paying the way for banks and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) to float such funds, a move that will help in garnering long-term resources for the infrastructure sector, reports PTI.

Banks and NBFCs will now be able to sponsor IDFs, which can be set up either as Mutual Funds (MFs) or NBFCs.

“Scheduled commercial banks would be allowed to act as sponsors to IDF-MFs and IDF-NBFCs with prior approval from RBI,” the central bank’s guidelines on setting up IDFs said.

NBFCs with a minimum Net Owned Funds (NOF) of Rs300 crore and Capital to Risk Weighted Assets (CRAR) of 15% has been allowed to set up IDF-MF.

As far as Infrastructure Finance Companies (IFCs) are concerned, they can sponsor IDF-NBFC.

In order to accelerate and enhance the flow of long-term funds to infrastructure projects, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in his budget speech had announced setting up of IDFs.

A bank acting as sponsor of IDF-NBFC shall contribute a minimum equity of 30% and maximum 49% in the fund, while for IDF-MF, they would have to follow the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) norms.

Also, investment by a bank in the equity of a single IDF-MF and NBFC should not exceed 10% of its paid up share capital and reserves.

For NBFCs, their non-performing assets (NPAs) should be less than 3% of net advances, should have been in existence for at least five years and earning profits for the last three years.

The investors in IDFs would be primarily domestic and off-shore institutional investors, especially insurance and pension funds which would have long term resources.

IDF-MF would be regulated by SEBI while IDF-NBFC would be regulated by the RBI. Earlier, the SEBI had issued guidelines in this regard.

The government has said that the infrastructure sector requires an investment of $1 trillion during the 12th Five Year Plan beginning next fiscal. Of this, 50% of the funding is expected to come from the private sector.

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SAT sets aside SEBI order on Dalmias buy-back of shares in OCL

Setting aside the order passed by SEBI, the tribunal observed that as the Dalmias already had a majority holding in OCL, such acquisition of share did not attract the provisions of the Takeover code

Mumbai: The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has set aside an order of market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) against the Dalmias in the case of alleged violation of the Takeover Code in a share buy-back scheme of their flagship company OCL, reports PTI.

SAT’s order came on a petition filed by the Dalmias against a SEBI order which last year had held that Dalmias had violated the Takeover code as it has not come with a public announcement.

The market regulator had also started adjudication process against Dalmias.

Setting aside the order passed by SEBI, the tribunal observed that as the Dalmias already had a majority holding in OCL, such acquisition of share did not attract the provisions of the Takeover code.

Dalmias had 62.56% share in OCL. After the buy-back of 11,83,708 shares in 2003, the shareholding went up to 75%.

SAT observed that as it was a passive acquisition, there was no change in the control of OCL, which was already with the Dalmias.

“We are in agreement with the learned senior counsel for the appellants (Dalmias) that regulation 11(1) of the Takeover Code was not attracted to the facts of the present case and that they were not required to come out with a public announcement,” SAT said.

The issue came up three years after the closure of the buy-back offer. A company called Jindal Securities had filed a petition before the Delhi High Court alleging the promoters had triggered the Takeover Code through such passive acquisition.

SEBI regulations mandated for a public announcement for acquisition of more than 15% shares as per the then existing rules.

The high court directed SEBI to look into the issue, following which the market regulator had issued notice to the Dalmias in July 2007.

The promoters had submitted before SEBI that they had not acquired any additional share or voting right in OCL and, therefore, the Takeover Code cannot be initiated.

SEBI was not convinced with it and held that Takeover Code was violated. It also noted the fact in its order stating that “the market price of the scrip of the company (OCL) was much more than the offer price, the shareholders of the company would not benefit from the public announcement”.

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