Cairn Energy’s shareholders ask India to honour arbitration award

Some of Cairn Energy Plc.’s marquee shareholders that include BlackRock, MFS, Franklin Templeton and Fidelity, have asked the Indian government to honour the retrospective tax assessment arbitration award and return $1.2 billion to the British oil firm, sources 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 U.S. 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 sources with knowledge of the development said the investors have written to the Indian government as well as the governments of their country — the U.S. and the U.K. — 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 the British oil and gas company and asked the government to return value of the shares it sold, dividend it seized and tax refunds it stopped to enforce the tax.

Sources said Cairn is not a single-promoter driven firm but is owned by the world’s top investors who are now seeking to protect their interest.

The Hindu
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