Vedanta refuses to raise offer for Cairn's minority holders

Vedanta Resources will not budge on the offer price of Rs355 a share it has made to Cairn India's minority shareholders in order to take control of that company, Vedanta Chairman Anil Agarwal said today.

Addressing a joint press conference with Bill Gammell, the chief executive of Scotland-based Cairn Energy Plc (which owns Cairn India), Agarwal said Vedanta has given a very lucrative offer for Cairn India. "Our offer to minority shareholders is the final price," he said.

The promoter of London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc believes the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) will take a decision on the open offer soon.

In August this year, Cairn Energy announced the decision to sell its stake in Cairn India to London-based Vedanta Resources. But the deal ran into a hurdle as it required consent from the union government as well as the Oil & Natural Gas Corp, which the government runs.

ONGC is a 30-per cent partner in Cairn India's Rajasthan oilfields, and has been paying the royalty for its share as well as Cairn India's 70 per cent stake in a deal which it considers highly unfair.

However, in the joint statement today, Gammell shrugged off ONGC's claim, saying it was a "matter between the ONGC and the government". Anil Agarwal, on the other hand, said ONGC has a pre-emptive right for asset sale but not for corporate sale.