"This is not an exit" Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao, while largely declining to comment on the impending merger with Idea Cellular, took great pains to point out that the merger between two of the largest telecom operators in India is "a joint venture with equal rights". Colao was speaking on the earnings conference call, at the end of the three month period ending December 31st 2016. "This is creating a much stronger asset", he said. "This is creating the number one telco in the country, with a little bit short of 400 million customers, the largest network by far in the country, and the possibility of being the best management team through the combination of the two management teams. I wouldn’t call it an exit. It’s, as you correctly put it, a joint venture with equal rights, which creates, we are convinced, value for both companies and for the shareholders of both companies. That’s the principle. It indicates that we are flexible and pragmatic, and like in the Netherlands we do whatever strengthens our assets and has a good return. And we are not dogmatic on which form that has to take country by country." Will Vodafone put more capital into India? "It’s an interesting question," Colao said, "because then it would require a definition of what is Indus Towers: is it Indian money or is it Group money? And don’t forget that Indus Towers is not or would not be part of a possible deal with Idea. So, let…
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