A new report published on Friday has suggested that a Nigerian court in Lagos has dismissed an application from India’s Bharti Airtel against an award given by an international commercial arbitration tribunal in favor of Econet Wireless.
“The High Court in Lagos, Nigeria, today dismissed an application by Bharti Airtel to set aside an award made by an international commercial arbitration tribunal in favour of Econet Wireless.
“The judgment paves the way for the matter to be referred back to the international tribunal to set the quantum of damages and compensation that Bharti must pay to Econet Wireless. In Court papers, Econet said that it is submitting a claim valued in excess of USD 3 billion,” a press statement issued by Econet said.
In India, Airtel officials said they had heard and read the statement from Econet but were unfamiliar with the inner workings of the decision at this point.
One official said that “this is really all speculation until our office in Nigeria can confirm or refute what Econet is claiming.”
Econet had gone to court over the 2006 deal that saw Celtel International purchase 65 percent stake in Nigeria’s mobile operator Vmobile, which is now a part of Bharti Airtel.
While information is still being sorted through, the ruling could threaten the Indian telecom giant’s efforts to boost its presence in Nigeria and West Africa.
David Eto and Farah Hyder