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 December 30 refused to consider Future’s request for terminating the arbitration before starting a final hearing later this week, prompting the retailer to move the Delhi court.
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 November 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 one of its lawyers Mukul Rohatgi cited “immense urgency” in the matter during an online hearing.
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 (CCI) had last month said the deal will “remain in abeyance.” It fined Amazon Rs 202 crore saying the e-tailer failed to disclose that the deal would give Amazon a right in Future Retail.