Future Retail Ltd (FRL) on Friday said it intends to pursue “all available avenues” to conclude its Rs 24,731-crore deal with Reliance Industries after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Amazon and upheld Singapore’s Emergency Arbitrator (EA) award that had restrained the said transaction. On the other hand, Amazon welcomed the judgement and said the ruling will hasten resolution of its ongoing dispute with the Future Group.
In a regulatory filing, FRL said the SC judgement “addresses two limited points related to the enforceability of the EA”s order and not the merits of the disputes”. “The full copy of the judgement is awaited. FRL is advised that it has remedies available in law, which it will exercise,” it added.
FRL further stated that it “intends to pursue all available avenues to conclude the deal to protect the interests of its stakeholders and workforce”. The Future Group company noted that the Arbitral Tribunal at the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) has concluded hearings on the questions that whether the interim award of the EA should continue and whether FRL is at all a party in the arbitration proceedings. “The decision of Arbitral Tribunal is awaited,” it added.
In August last year, Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL) had said it will acquire the retail and wholesale business, and the logistics and warehousing business of Future Group for Rs 24,713 crore. The scheme of arrangement entails the consolidation of Future Group’s retail and wholesale assets into one entity Future Enterprises Ltd and then transferring it to Reliance Retail.
The deal has been contested by Amazon, an investor in Future Coupons that in turn is a shareholder in Future Retail Ltd. In August 2019, Amazon had agreed to purchase 49 per cent of one of Future’s unlisted firms, Future Coupons Ltd (which owns 7.3 per cent equity in BSE-listed Future Retail Ltd through convertible warrants), with the right to buy into the flagship Future Retail after a period of three to 10 years.
Amazon had dragged Future into arbitration at SIAC and in October, an interim award was passed by the EA in favour of the US-e-commerce major that barred Future Retail from taking any step to dispose of or encumber its assets or issuing any securities to secure any funding from a restricted party. Amazon and the Future Group had also filed litigations in Indian courts, including the Supreme Court, on the issue.
On Friday, the top court ruled in favour of Amazon by holding that the EA award was valid and enforceable under laws. The Supreme Court’s order came over a petition filed by Amazon that had challenged an earlier order of the Delhi High Court.
“We welcome the verdict of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India upholding the Emergency Arbitrator’s award. We hope that this will hasten a resolution of this dispute with Future Group,” Amazon said in a statement. SIAC has concluded the final hearing over Amazon’s plea and a final judgement in the matter is awaited. Shares of Future Retail were trading at Rs 52.55, down 9.94 per cent in late after afternoon trade