Mobile operator Bharti Airtel could be forced to payout $3-billion over a five per cent stake claimed by Econet Wireless in the country.
The judgment in the suit was handed down by the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal, which determined that Econet Wireless remains a bona fide stakeholder in Airtel Nigeria. According to the court, Airtel was unsuccessful in having the matter resolved in lower courts, over attempts by Econet Wireless to reacquire its stake in the company.
But Airtel was quick to state that it would appeal the case in the Supreme Court.
“Bharti Airtel, a 79.06 per cent shareholder in Airtel Networks Ltd, Nigeria (Airtel Nigeria) is not satisfied with the judgment of the appellate court, and promises to lodge an appeal against the decision at the Supreme Court of Nigeria,” Airtel said in a statement.
According to This Day, “the Indian company said the disputed shares are in an escrow account and the judgment would have no impact on the stake of Bharti Airtel or other Airtel Nigeria shareholders.”
“Airtel Nigeria has already launched an appeal before the Supreme Court of Nigeria against the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Kaduna in the matter relating to Econet’s claim for 5 percent shares in Airtel Nigeria.”
Airtel further stated that “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.
Airtel went on to assure their subscribers that the court case won’t affect business operations. “Bharti Airtel and Airtel Nigeria have full confidence in the laws of the land, and believe the Supreme Court in Nigeria will determine the appeals on merits. Airtel wishes to assure its customers, employees and business partners that these judgments will in no way affect operations of Airtel Nigeria.”
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor