ibnlive » Business

Jun 16, 2007 at 01:22pm IST

Hutch-Essar bid war turns political

New Delhi: Egyptian telecom giant Orascom, has said that it is still in the race to acquire Hutchison Essar, although it is yet to make a firm bid.

The Egypitan government has also written to the Indian government seeking clarity on its stand.

Meanwhile European rival Vodafone too is upping the diplomatic pressure.

WAR HOTS UP: Vodafone, Reliance, Essar, Orascom – all are in fray to acquire Hutch-Essar.

According to British Newspaper the Daily Telegraph, Vodafone Chief Executive Arun Sarin is expected in New Delhi on Wednesday to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Commerce Minister Kamal Nath.

Nath has already spoken to EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson on the issue and has said he was likely to meet Sarin on Wednesday.

EU's support for Vodafone comes within days of the UK-based firm's representatives meeting senior officials of Department of Telecom seeking clarity on FDI policies.

Meanwhile Essar has also announced it is interested in buying out its foreign partner in Hutch-Essar, coinciding with UK's telecom giant Vodafone commencing due diligence for acquiring India's fourth largest mobile player.

Essar, by virtue of its 33 per cent stake in Hutch Essar Ltd (HEL), has three directors on the JV company's Board and thus access to all the operational, infrastructural and financial information about the joint venture.

Malaysia's Maxis Communications is also believed to be keen on acquiring Hutch-Essar.