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Telkom’s Multi-Links Loses Nigerian Case to Helios Towers

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June 7 (Bloomberg) -- Telkom South Africa Ltd. said a Nigerian court found in favor of Helios Towers Nigeria in a dispute about the validity of a lease contract for which Helios claims it’s owed $252 million.

Helios Towers Nigeria, a unit of London-based Helios Investment Partners LLP, lodged a damages claim against Telkom’s Multi-Links unit regarding the leasing of mobile-phone towers in Nigeria. Multi-Links argued that the lease was invalid because the government hadn’t authorized building on the land where Helios Towers placed the equipment. A judge in Nigeria’s commercial capital of Lagos found the contract to be valid.

“Multi-Links is reviewing the implications of the judgment and all options will be considered,” Telkom said today in a regulatory statement. It said a hearing hasn’t been scheduled regarding Helios Towers Nigeria’s damages claim.

The court’s finding may delay Multi-Links’s restructuring, which included the sale of its CDMA technology business to Visafone Communications Ltd. The sale, announced on April 1, is subject to settlement of the Helios Towers case.

“Irrespective of the litigation in respect of the Master Lease Agreement, the parties are still continuing to perform in terms of the agreement,” Telkom said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sikonathi Mantshantsha in Johannesburg at smantshantsh@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at gserkin@bloomberg.net

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