Clarifying on media reports that that the South African authorities may insist on dual listing of shares in case the MTN-Bharti Airtel merger goes through, (See: Bharti-MTN deal may face SA regulatory hurdles) sources in the finance ministry yesterday said that there was no formal approach by Bharti for any policy changes.
At the same time, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said in Chennai that the government is open to the dual listing of MTN.
"There is a provision for the dual listing of companies. The South African minister met me at the G-20 finance ministers' meeting (in London) and there I suggested to him that this arrangement is to be looked into in the Indian context," he told reporters.
A CNBC-TV18 reporter spoke to finance ministry officials who said there was no formal application of any sort with the concerned authorities for seeking dual listing approval.
If at all a formal application comes in, it would require to be discussed at the level of the ministry of finance, but the ministry of corporate affairs and the Reserve Bank of India would be brought in because dual listing comes under the foreign exchange management act, which calls for RBI's involvement.
Only as and when that stage is reached will the finance ministry and the government make up their mind or be in a position to offer any opinion on whether it is allowed, what are the issues, or what are the changes required.
Officials say that no formal application has been received, and that such an application can only come from Bharti Airtel and no one else. They said any talk on that front is based on presumptions - especially linking the development to the 30 September deadline set by the two companies to complete their talks. The government will not work according to the deadline that two private companies may have set.