March 3, 2014 / 11:41 AM / in 4 years

UPDATE 1-India's Supreme Court to resume hearing of Nokia appeal on March 11

(Updates with next hearing date)

NEW DELHI, March 3 (Reuters) - India’s Supreme Court will resume hearing on March 11 Nokia’s appeal against a lower court ruling over transferring ownership of its local mobile phones plant which is the subject of a tax dispute to Microsoft, lawyers on the case said on Monday.

Nokia, which is selling its mobile phones business to Microsoft in a 5.4 billion euro ($7.5 billion) deal, last month appealed to the Supreme Court saying the Delhi High Court had imposed “new conditions” over the transfer of the plant, after previously lifting a freeze on the assets.

A swift hearing could put an end to speculation over whether Nokia can move ownership of local assets including the plant in Chennai in southern India to Microsoft. The acquisition is expected to close by end-March, and Nokia has been keen for a ruling before that as the company plans to shift its focus to network equipment.

Nokia previously agreed to set aside 22.5 billion rupees in an escrow account while it fights the Indian tax authority’s claims in court. The company is also being asked to give a guarantee for 35 billion rupees more, which it says will restrict its ability to contest the tax claims locally and internationally. ($1=0.7240 euros) (Reporting by Suchitra Mohanty; Writing by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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