Reuters reports that Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court has allowed Japan’s Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) to sell its shares in Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), following a court battle that began last June. ‘The [court] order was that NTT has the freedom to sell [any] shares, in the open market, to anyone they want to,’ said Nilanthi Peiris, a lawyer who appeared on behalf of petitioners. The Supreme Court halted the sale of a 25.3% stake in SLT owned by NTT to Usaha Tegas, the parent of Malaysia’s Maxis Communications, via a subsidiary, Global Telecom Holdings, in June 2007, and postponed it again in September following complaints about a lack of transparency. The Sri Lankan government owns 49.5% of SLT, NTT holds 35.2% and the remainder is distributed. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database says that the share deal requires the government to draw up a new management contract with the Malaysian investor, as the deal would leave NTT with a 9.9% holding, cancelling its existing contract (which ends if its stake drops below 10%).
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