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Vodafone to take full control of Indian business

vodafoneVodafone Group Plc said it expected to close on Friday a deal to buy an 11 percent stake in its Indian business from minority partner Piramal Enterprises Ltd, giving it full ownership.

Piramal said on Thursday it had agreed to sell its 11 percent stake to the British group for 89 billion rupees.

A Vodafone spokesman separately said the group had already completed a transaction to buy about a 4.5 percent stake in the business from Indian businessman Analjit Singh.

The deals are part of Vodafone’s plan announced last October to take full control of Vodafone India Ltd for $1.7 billion, following a rule change allowing foreign carriers to fully-own their Indian subsidiaries.

Vodafone, which entered India in 2007 by buying Hutchison Whampoa’s local cellular assets in a $11 billion deal, directly and indirectly owns a combined 84.5 percent of Vodafone India, the country’s No.2 telecoms company by users and revenue.

Piramal had bought the 11 percent stake in Vodafone India in two tranches during the financial year to March 2012 for 58.64 billion rupees. It is selling the stake to Prime Metals Ltd, which it said is an indirect subsidiary of Vodafone Group.

Piramal shares closed 2.9 percent higher on Thursday, having risen as much as 7.1 percent during the session.-Reuters