Live Mint | 25 January 2021
Cairn Energy’s major investors ask India to honour arbitration
Some of Cairn Energy Plc’s marquee shareholders that include BlackRock, MFS, Franklin Templeton and Fidelity, have asked the Indian government to honour an arbitration award and return $1.2 billion to the British oil firm, people familiar with the matter said.
Cairn, which on this day seven years back was first slapped with a retrospective tax assessment, is three-fourth owned by world’s top investors with $529 billion MFS Investment Management of US being its largest investor with 14.02% stake. New York-based BlackRock is the second biggest shareholder with 12.19% stake. Other investors include Fidelity International, Franklin Templeton, Vanguard Group and Aberdeen Standard Investments, according to stock exchange data.
Two people with knowledge of the development said the investors have written to the Indian government as well as the governments of the US and UK seeking adherence to the award of a tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. The three-member tribunal, which comprised a judge appointed by India, last month unanimously overturned a ₹10,247 crore retrospective tax demand on Cairn Energy and asked the government to return value of the shares it sold, dividend it seized and tax refunds it stopped to enforce the tax.
Cairn is not a single-promoter driven firm but is owned by world’s top investors who are now seeking to protect their interest, the people said.
It wasn’t immediately known how many of the Cairn’s top 20 shareholders, who between them hold 74.94% stake, have written to the US, the UK and the Indian government. Cairn refused to comment on the story.