Deccan Chronicle



Future Retail Ltd has sought to halt and terminate Inc's case at a Singapore arbitratio­n tribunal, a move that could allow the cashstrapp­ed Indian retailer to sell some of its assets to Reliance Industries Ltd.

Armed with a December antitrust ruling against Amazon, Future Retail has petitioned the Delhi High Court and the arbitratio­n tribunal in Singapore saying that continuing arbitratio­n would be illegal, according to people familiar with the filing. The Singapore tribunal on Dec. 30 refused to consider Future's request for terminatin­g the arbitratio­n before starting a final hearing later this week, prompting the Indian retailer to move the Delhi court.

Future Retail contends that continuing arbitratio­n would be illegal as Amazon's 2019 deal, on the basis of which the arbitratio­n was initiated, has no legal existence after the antitrust body's order suspended its approval, according people familiar with the filing. The Competitio­n Commission of India had last month said the deal will "remain in abeyance."

If successful, the latest attempt by Future Retail can end the arbitratio­n case that had blocked the sale of some of its physical assets like stores and warehouses to Reliance Industries. Future Retail is coming under increasing pressure from investors, with its dollar bonds on Monday dropping the most since Nov. 16 after it missed payments to lenders and its credit rating was downgraded.

A halt or terminatio­n of the arbitratio­n case would be a setback for Amazon, which is in a race with Reliance to dominate India's billion-plus consumer market.

The Delhi High Court on Monday agreed to hear Future group firms' petition after lawyer Mukul Rohatgi cited "immense urgency" in the matter.

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