Danish group GN Store Nord has extended proceedings against Polish telecoms group TPSA to Britain in its dispute about traffic volumes over a fibre-optic network its DPTG unit built in Poland.
According to GN, DPTG had initiated enforcement proceedings against the Polish telecoms group in Britain, and had received an order of enforcement from the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division.
TPSA, which has 14 days to appeal the interim order, has contracts with UK telecoms operators and pays them for charges such as international roaming; under the order, TPSA could be forced to channel that money to GN instead.
Last week, GN filed a fresh US$430 million claim against TPSA, sending TPSA shares to their lowest level in six months.
TPSA, controlled by France Telecom, rejected the demand last week as groundless, but DM IDM SA analyst Jakub Viscardian has said there is a risk the company could be forced to raise provisions in the first quarter. An earlier US$524.86 million claim by GN’s DPTG unit is outstanding.
DPTG, 75 percent owned by GN, filed last week’s claim with the arbitration tribunal in Vienna, where it had lodged the first one.
TPSA, which is controlled by Austria,was ordered in September to pay US$495 million to its business partner DPTG to settle a long-running dispute over traffic volumes carried via a fiber optical network that was installed in Poland in the early 1990s. DPTG is a unit of Danish headset and hearing-aid maker GN Store Nord A/S.
According to TPSA, it raised procedural errors in the arbitration proceedings in its challenge of the verdict.
According to previous statements by GN Store Nord, its DPTG unit has initiated enforcement proceedings against TPSA in the Netherlands and has obtained a prejudgment attachment on TPSA’s shares in its subsidiary TPSA Finance B.V., which effectively freezes the assets of TPSA Finance B.V.
France Telecom SA’s Polish unit TPSA (Telekomunikacja Polska SA) has been ordered to shell out US$510.44 million to DPTG (Danish Polish Telecommunications Group) by arbitration court in Vienna. France Telecom owns 49.79% in TPSA.
This verdict covers a preliminary period from February 1994 to June 2004, and the second phase of the proceedings will examine the period from July 2004 to January 2009, if the parties negotiate a settlement.
According to France Telecom, TPSA is probing its options regarding taking further legal action to counter this decision. TPSA will announce as soon as possible any further steps to be taken on the issue, in particular regarding the execution of the decision. The company has already made the appropriate provisions relative to these proceedings for which the decision was expected although the calendar remained uncertain.
The possible monetary impact is excluded from France Telecom’s cash flow guidance for 2010, alongside all other outstanding items. France Telecom reaffirmed its commitment to payout a dividend of US$1.80 a share for 3 consequent years.