Nokia doing ‘all it can’ to ensure Chennai plant transfer


Running against time to conclude its USD 7.2 billion deal with Microsoft, Finnish mobile maker Nokia is doing “all it can” to ensure that its biggest manufacturing facility in South Asia is part of the deal.

The Chennai plant may be excluded from software giant Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s handset business for EUR 5.4 billion due to tax issues. “Nokia is ensuring all it can to see the transfer of the plant and other assets to Microsoft by tomorrow,” a Nokia spokesperson told PTI. However, the task at hand is complicated, the spokesperson added.

“With the situation at the moment, it seems highly unlikely that the transfer will happen in the time frame,” she said.

People following the developments at Nokia said the firm is also exploring the option of operating the plant by entering into a service agreement, which would allow it to continue as a contract manufacturer.

Last September, Nokia announced it would sell its devices and services (D&S) business, including assets in India, to Microsoft for $7.2 billion by March 2014. The deadline was subsequently extended to April 25.

The handset and other asset components under the deal are to be handed over to Microsoft’s Finnish entity Microsoft Mobile Oy.

In March, the Tamil Nadu government served a Rs. 2,400 crores notice on Nokia, saying the company sold products from the Chennai plant in the domestic market instead of shipping them overseas.

In a separate tax case, the Supreme Court ordered Nokia India on March 14 to give a Rs. 3,500 crores guarantee before it transfers the plant to Microsoft.

The company has often indicated that the transfer of the plant could be adversely impacted if the dispute remains unresolved.

Recently, the company offered a voluntary retirement scheme to its employees in Chennai.

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