Signage for Idea Cellular Ltd. is displayed outside a mobile phone store in Mumbai. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Idea Cellular Gets Telecom Department’s Nod To Raise FDI Limit To 100%

Idea Cellular Ltd. today said the telecom department has approved raising the foreign direct investment limit in the company to 100 percent, putting its merger deal with Vodafone in the last leg of regulatory clearance.

“Idea Cellular Ltd. has received approval on its application to increase foreign direct investment limit in the company to 100 percent, from the current 67.5 percent, from the Department of Telecom today,” Idea said in a statement.

The approval is for total foreign investment up to 100 percent in Idea Cellular, and total indirect FDI in its relevant subsidiaries – Aditya Birla Telecom Ltd. and Idea Cellular Infrastructure Services Ltd., it added.

The FDI approval is a major milestone in the merger process of Vodafone India with Idea Cellular, and follows other statutory approvals received from SEBI, NSE, BSE, CCI and NCLT Mumbai and NCLT Ahmedabad.

“The merger of Vodafone India with Idea Cellular is in the final leg of regulatory approvals and is expected to complete in the first half of calendar year 2018, subject to the final approval from the DoT,” the statement said.

Vodafone would own 45.1 percent in the combined entity, while Aditya Birla Group would have 26 percent and Idea shareholders 28.9 percent.

The merged entity would be known as ‘Vodafone Idea Ltd’. It will be the country’s largest telecom operator with around 430 million subscribers from Day 1.

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