Piramal Healthcare will buy an additional 5.5% of the issued equity share capital of Vodafone India Limited from Essar (ETHL Communications Holdings Limited) for approximately Rs 3007 crore, the company has informed the Bombay Stock Exchange. This values Vodafone India at Rs 59,200 crore, or approximately £7.6 billion.
This is the second tranch of 5.5% stake that the company is acquiring in Vodafone India, and at a higher price than the Rs 2856 crore it paid for the first 5.5%. Thus, once the transactions are through, Piramal Healthcare would have paid Rs 5863 crore for 11% stake in the company. The transaction follows the settlement between Vodafone and Essar over the sale of Essar’s approximately 33% stake in Vodafone India Limited, announced in July 2011.
Since then, Vodafone has had something of a windfall gain, with a Rs 11,000 crore tax case in India going in its favor. The company is expected to be preparing for an Initial Public Offering in India, and has restructured its top management. Piramal Healthcare has little to do with the mobile industry, and it wouldn’t be surprising if it exits Vodafone India once the company lists: remember that as a foreign entity, Vodafone can only hold 74% equity in an India telecom business (Vodafone India Ltd), and post IPO, the option is there for Piramal Healthcare to either sell stock to the public as a part of the IPO, or sell it to to Vodafone. Bizarrely enough, it just appears to be a placeholder for Vodafone stock, just because of the FDI limits.