Moscow: With conglomerate Sistema facing uncertain future following cancellation of its telecom licences, Russia on Monday set up a Parliamentary working group to protect interests of its companies working in India.

A Special Working Group will be established under Lower House of Russian Parliament (Duma) that "will develop necessary mechanisms for protection of the interests of the Russian companies working in India," Russian news agency Interfac reported on Monday.

Sistema has a joint venture with India's Shyam Group, SSTL, in which the Russian government also has a stake of 17.14 percent. Operating under the MTS brand name, SSTL has a user-base of over 15 million but its 21 licences were among the 122 cancelled by the Supreme Court in February this year.

The Special Working Group will be established under Property Issues Committee of the Lower House of the Russian Federation.

"The need to organise such working group is stipulated by the fact that implementation of some major investment projects in India is currently facing serious hurdles," Committee Chairman Sergey Gavrilov said in the course of its session.

He said this in particular related to the problems faced by Sistema Shyam TeleServices Ltd (SSTL) and joint venture Kamaz Vectra Motors Ltd (KVML), where JSC Kamaz owns 51 percent of shares.

The apex court had asked the government to conduct fresh auctions, the deadline of which has been extended to August 31 and the company can operate till September 7.

Since then, SSTL has moved a curative petition in the SC seeking re-examination of its verdict.

Sistema claims to have invested over USD 2.5 billion starting 2007, including USD 630 million for securing licences in 2008. It will demand compensation of all incurred losses in case it is forced to leave the Indian market.

Sistema owns 56.68 percent in SSTL, while 17.14 percent belongs to Russian government and 23.98 per cebnt is owned by Shyam Group. The remaining 2.2 percent is free floating.

Russian Government became SSTL shareholder in 2010 by investing around USD 600 million.


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