January 10, 2019 / 8:16 AM / in 11 days

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Thai DTAC settles CAT legal disputes for about $300 mln; shares tumble

(Corrects country in paragraph 3 to Norway, not Sweden)

OSLO/BANGKOK, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Thailand’s Total Access Communication (DTAC) said on Thursday it would pay close to $300 million to settle legal disputes with state-owned CAT Telecom Public Co Ltd, sending DTAC shares tumbling more than 17 percent.

DTAC said it would first pay 6.8 billion baht ($213 million) and pay the rest after cases are withdrawn. The payments will not have any “material negative impact on its liquidity and financial position,” it said.

“Over the 27-year concession period, DTAC and CAT have been engaged in numerous litigation cases, mostly over differences in interpretation of the concession agreement,” said Norway’s Telenor, the biggest shareholder in DTAC.

Today’s settlement will close all, except two, issues between DTAC and CAT, and will also bar the parties from bringing new claims pertaining to the concession regime.

The total settlement amounts to 9.51 billion Thai baht ($298 million).

The agreement “enables a fresh start of a new infrastructure partnership ... and reduce uncertainty relating to arbitration awards and court verdicts,” DTAC said in a statement.

The two issues not included in the settlement are industry cases related to revenue sharing concerning excise tax and interconnection charges, and both have been previously disclosed, Telenor said.

While the Norwegian firm had previously made provisions amounting to about 400 million crowns ($47.22 million), it will book the remaining cost of 2.1 billion crowns in its fourth-quarter results, it added.

Telenor has about 173 million mobile phone customers in eight countries across Europe and Asia. ($1=8.4713 Norwegian crowns) ($1=31.9300 baht) (Reporting by Terje Solsvik Oslo and Chayut Setboonsarng in Bangkok; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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