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HTC interested in Nokia's India plant, if it's up for sale

The plant could help HTC expand its presence in India and potentially lead to lower prices by limiting shipping costs.


HTC might buy Nokia's manufacturing plant Chennai, India -- if the opportunity presents itself.

Speaking to the Economic Times in an interview published Monday, HTC CFO Chialin Chang said he would "look into" the possibility of acquiring Nokia's Chennai plant. Ultimately, however, the decision will rely on how well the plant would "serve consumers," he said.

Nokia's Chennai plant has been a thorn in Nokia's side and could very well become an issue for Microsoft when the software giant completes its $7.2 billion Nokia acquisition later this week.

Earlier this year, India tax officials raided the Nokia facility and promptly issued a tax levy on the manufacturing plant, saying that the company owed back taxes reportedly worth more than $500 million. Nokia is currently battling the tax levy in Indian court, but it's extremely unlikely that anything will be resolved before the acquisition is completed.

According to one Economic Times source, Microsoft has little desire, if any, to deal with the tax issues surrounding the Chennai plant. Nokia has already offered early retirement to some workers and could decide to either close the plant altogether or sell it, according to that source.

For his part, Chang says he's not aware of the Chennai plant being up for sale. Still, if it does go up for sale, it's likely that China-based HTC would be first in line to acquire the facility. The company has made clear to investors that it wants to make a significant push into the critically important Indian market. Having a plant in India where it could produce devices and get them to store shelves more quickly and with lower shipping costs could give HTC an edge to attract more customers.

CNET has contacted both HTC and Nokia for comment on the report. We will update this story when we have more information.