It was announced on Thursday that Hutchison Essar will be renamed Vodafone Essar and in due course the business will market its products and services under the Vodafone brand. British telecom giant Vodafone and its partner Essar have reached an agreement under which they will work to continue the growth of Hutchison Essar Limited. The move follows Vodafone acquiring Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd’s (HTIL) controlling interest in Hutchison Essar in which Essar continues to be a 33 per cent shareholder.
When asked on the new branding, Arun Sarin, CEO of Vodafone, said, “Hutch has a strong brand equity in India and we will be initially moving in by using the dual branding including Hutchison Essar and Vodafone. The details on this are still being discussed.”
Commenting on the partnership, Sarin said, “I am delighted that Essar and Vodafone have agreed on the terms of an ongoing partnership. Essar has played a key role in transforming this business into a leading mobile operator. We look forward to leveraging this experience and working with our partner. We will be bringing the relevant range of Vodafone products and services to the Indian consumer.”
Ravi Ruia, Vice-Chairman of Essar, commented, “Essar was a founding partner of Hutchison Essar and played an active role in building the company, including extending network coverage into several profitable regional markets. By partnering with Vodafone we expect to create further value in the business.”
Under the terms of the partnership, Vodafone will have operational control of Vodafone Essar and Essar will have rights consistent with its shareholding, including proportionate board representation. Ruia will be appointed by Vodafone as Chairman of Vodafone Essar and Arun Sarin will be appointed by Essar as Vice-Chairman.
Vodafone expects to complete the acquisition of HTIL’s interest in Hutchison Essar in the coming weeks.