April 11, 2014 / 10:28 AM / 3 years ago

Nokia offers voluntary retirement at Chennai tax-dispute factory

Low-cost mobile handsets from Nokia on display at a store in hmedabad March 4, 2013.Amit Dave/Files

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Nokia Oyj NOK1V.HE is offering voluntary retirement at a factory at the centre of a tax dispute after a review of the regulatory environment in countries where it operates.

Nokia planned to transfer the plant to Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) as part of the 5.4 billion euro sale of its handset division, but the local tax office seized it last year.

A court later ordered Nokia give the tax office a 35 billion rupee guarantee before transferring the plant to Microsoft. Nokia has yet to agree.

Nokia on Friday said, without referring to the dispute, that it launched a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) after a review in which it considered the "predictability and stability of the regulatory environment" in countries where it operates.

"We have set no target for the VRS in terms of the number of employees. All of the employees coming forward are entitled to the package," Nokia said in a statement.

The plant is in Chennai and, with about 6,600 fulltime employees, is one of Nokia's biggest for making handsets.

Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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