AEF 2020

Zambia court blocks Vedanta bid to stop liquidation

  • Judge sets hearing for winding-up petition on Aug. 27
  • Company owned by billionaire Anil Agarwal considers options

A Zambian court Wednesday dismissed an application by Vedanta Ltd. to stay the liquidation of its Konkola Copper Mines unit and set the hearing for a winding up petition on Aug. 27.

“Vedanta is reviewing the ruling and will then make a decision on its next steps,” the company said in an emailed statement in response to the ruling by Justice Annesi Banda-Bobo of the Lusaka High Court. Preliminary arguments will be heard on Aug. 13.

Zambia’s ZCCM Investments Holdings Plc, which owns a 20% stake in KCM, is seeking to liquidate the company, accusing Vedanta of lying about expansion plans and paying too little tax. Vedanta says it is a “loyal investor” that’s spent more than $3 billion in the country since 2004.

A South African court last month ordered Zambia to halt the liquidation proceedings and ruled that the state breached its shareholder obligations, and continues to do so.

Vedanta had approached the High Court in Johannesburg due to an agreement that selected the city as the seat of arbitration in the event of a dispute. Mines Minister Richard Musukwa says the court has no jurisdiction in Zambia and the ruling isn’t enforceable in the nation.

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