CHENNAI, India, April 29 (Reuters) - An Indian court ordered
tax authorities in Tamil Nadu state on Tuesday to reconsider a
nearly $400 million sales tax claim against Nokia on
handsets made at the Finnish company's Chennai plant.
Nokia, which is embroiled in a separate tax dispute with
Indian authorities that stopped the plant from being transferred
to Microsoft as part of the sale of its mobile phone business,
had appealed to the Madras High Court after receiving a demand
notice for about 24 billion rupees ($396 million).
The court on Tuesday asked Nokia to deposit 10 percent of
the disputed tax demand within eight weeks as a precondition for
the two sides to discuss the claims afresh, according to a copy
of the court order seen by Reuters.
Tamil Nadu state authorities had alleged that handsets from
Nokia's Chennai plant were not exported but instead sold in
India, the company said in March, calling the claim "absurd".
Nokia is "weighing its options for legal recourse", it said
in a statement on Tuesday after the court order. "(Nokia) would
like to reiterate that it continues to see the Tamil Nadu claim
as without merit and will defend itself vigorously," the company
Nokia last week closed the deal to sell its handsets
business to Microsoft, but left the Indian factory out of the
deal. It would operate the Chennai factory as a contract
manufacturing unit for Microsoft.
($1 = 0.7223 Euros)
($1 = 60.5550 Indian Rupees)
(Reporting by Sriram Srinivasan; Writing by Devidutta Tripathy;
Editing by John Stonestreet)