Telenor fights back over Bangladesh tax bill

18 October 2011 |


The Norwegian telco Telenor is standing strong against a $400 million tax bill from the Bangladeshi government for tax evasion and revenue sharing costs, following an audit of its Bangladeshi joint venture Grameenphone.

According to the FT, Telenor is refusing to pay the bill after expressing concerns over the transparency of the claim under international laws. The independent audit was carried out by the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC), which highlighted an unpaid share of revenue, accumulated interest and unpaid tax on SIM cards. With the tax payment due towards the end of this month, the BTRC is said to be pursuing legal options.

Telenor first invested in Grameenphone in 1997 and today it owns just over 50% of the company, which has become the largest mobile operator in Bangladesh with over 32 million subscribers.

For a full break down and analysis of the Bangladesh market please click here.

Meanwhile, Telenor has also revealed it will raise equity for its Indian mobile operator Uninor next year. Uninor is a joint venture between Telenor and the Indian real estate firm Unitech. According to reports, plans to raise $1.68 billion were met with resistance by Unitech, which sought to block the move through Indian courts.