Econet seeks $3.1 b damages from Bharti

Econet Wireless is seeking at least $3.1 billion in damages from Bharti Airtel in a dispute over ownership of its subsidiary Airtel Nigeria, according to a suit filed on Wednesday.

The move follows a Nigerian court ruling on January 30 that Bharti Airtel’s ownership of its subsidiary Airtel Nigeria is “null and void” because co-founder and 5 per cent shareholder Econet was not consulted on the transfer. South Africa-based Econet Wireless is disputing the Indian company’s ownership of one of its top Africa operations. Bharti said last month that its stake in its Nigerian unit was “completely safe” and that they had appealed against the verdict.

“The claim for damages and equitable compensation against the Applicant and some of the Respondents might be in excess of $3 billion,” the document said. “The above damages is in addition to a claim for $100 million received as fees for management of Vee Networks Limited, a former name of Airtel) for a period of 6 years which sum should have accrued.”

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