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Vedanta’s Anil Agarwal rules out raising offer price for Cairn India

Notwithstanding the criticism of minority shareholders of Cairn India getting a raw deal, billionaire Anil Agarwal today ruled out his debt-ridden mining firm Vedanta Ltd raising the offer to absorb the cash rich oil firm”.

Anil Agarwal, Cairn India
With minority shareholders of Cairn India said to be against the merger of the company with parent Vedanta Ltd, Vedanta Group Chairman Anil Agarwal today hoped he wouldn't have to sweeten the merger offer. (Reuters)
Anil Agarwal, Cairn India
“We are going to everybody,” billionaire Anil Agarwal said on being asked if Vedanta is approaching minority shareholders to convince them about the Cairn deal. (Reuters)

Notwithstanding the criticism of minority shareholders of Cairn India getting a raw deal, billionaire Anil Agarwal today ruled out his debt-ridden mining firm Vedanta Ltd raising the offer to absorb the cash rich oil firm.

Minority shareholders of Cairn, who have seen share prices almost halve to Rs 170-180 in past one year on back of the company cutting exploration expense and falling oil prices, have criticised the offer of one Vedanta Ltd share and one 7.5 per cent preference share in Vedanta Ltd for every share they hold.

“This is a matter of detail. I think people are dealing with it. We have given the best of offer,” Agarwal told reporters after meeting Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan here.

He was asked if Vedanta Ltd will raise the offer in view of minority shareholders not being happy with the offer.

“I think everybody is happy. We have done it with best of intentions,” he said.

Agarwal, who had on Monday met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, on Tuesday explained the rationale of the deal to Pradhan.

The merger needs approval of at least half of the minority shareholders. State-owned Life Insurance Corp of India (LIC) holds 9.06 per cent stake in Cairn India, second only to 9.82 per cent of UK’s Cairn Energy Plc, which had in 2011 sold majority stake in Cairn India to Vedanta for $8.67 billion.

Agarwal needs approval of both LIC and Cairn Energy to get his proposal through.

“We are going to everybody,” he said on being asked if Vedanta is approaching minority shareholders to convince them about the deal.

“They (minority shareholders) have to take up (the merger) to their board and they have to decide on it in their own way,” he said.

Mindful of the fact that the merger will fall if LIC along with Cairn Energy were to vote against, Vedanta has already reached out to state insurance company for support.

Vedanta chief executive Tom Albanese yesterday said he will seek support from minority investors based in India this week and will meet investors in the UK next week.

On his meeting with Pradhan, Agarwal said, “Cairn is doing well. We are looking to do more investment to increase production. Increasing production is very important to energy security. Energy security is top priority and we will do everything possible.”

Vedanta plans to use Rs 16,867 crore cash lying with Cairn to pay off part of its Rs 77,752 crore debt.

Vedanta almost holds 60 per cent stake in Cairn India.

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