Exactly a month after Edinburgh-based Cairn Energy went public about selling its majority shareholding in Cairn India to UK-based Vedanta Resources, the company on Thursday said it expected to achieve all regulatory approvals by the end of the year, reiterating that it had no differences with the government or PSU major ONGC Ltd.
“Whatever differences exist between us, is only in the press,” said Bill Gammell, chief executive officer, Cairn Energy. “We have been interacting with the government (petroleum ministry) and ONGC and there is absolutely no problem. I expect to achieve all the necessary approvals by the end of this year or early next year.”
State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has a 30 per cent interest in the 6.5-billion barrel Rajasthan fields, the centrepiece of the Cairn-Vedanta deal, and the PSU had voiced unhappiness about not being kept in the loop about the deal.
In his second visit to India in less than a month, Gammell met ONGC chief R.S. Sharma. He will visit the country again next month closer to the open offer that Vedanta will make to the shareholders of Cairn India. Vedanta is yet to get the approval of market regulator SEBI for the offer to acquire up to 20 per cent stake in Cairn India, and Gammell said the deal hinged on the completion of the offer, slated to hit the market on October 11.
Gammell said the company will call an extraordinary general meeting of its shareholders in early October to seek ratification of the deal.
Vedanta is offering Rs 50 per share more to Cairn Energy for its stake to “compensate for the three-year non-compete clause that is part of the deal.”
With Cairn making all the right noises, the government too softened its stand somewhat with the petroleum ministry saying that the regulatory approval for the deal will take atleast a month.