Consciously did not counter Vedanta's offer to buy Cairn: ONGC

New Delhi: State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) today said that it "consciously" decided not to make a rival offer to Vedanta Resources' $9.6 billion offer to acquire a majority stake in Cairn India, reports PTI.

"Counter offer date is gone. If ONGC did not make an offer, that was done consciously," ONGC chairman and MD R S Sharma told reporters here.

London-listed Vedanta Resources is buying 40%-51% stake of Cairn India from its UK parent Cairn Energy Plc that owns the nation's largest onland oil field for up to $8.48 billion.

It is making a further open offer for another 30% stake which will give billionaire Anil Aggarwal-run group a 60% stake in Cairn India.

"ONGC management is fully conscious of its interest and responsibility and has acted in a responsible manner," Mr Sharma said on not making a rival offer to Vedanta's bid.

ONGC, which is a 30% partner with Cairn India in the giant Rajasthan oil field, had claimed that it had pre-emption or right of first refusal in Cairn India assets, like the Rajasthan block.

Asked if ONGC had waived that pre-emption right, Mr Sharma said, "I did not say that. All I have said is that we did not make a rival offer by the close of deadline (on 7th September) as per Indian capital market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) norm."

"That has been a conscious decision considering all legal aspects, considering all commercial aspects and the interest of the company," he said.

Mr Sharma said ONGC will act on the issue keeping the interest and responsibilities of the company in mind.

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“India's insular FDI policy in aviation to hurt sector”

New Delhi: International Air Transport Association (IATA) today said India's insular approach to foreign direct investment (FDI) in aviation is going to hurt the sector, which needs an investment of $140 billion in the next 20 years, reports PTI.

"Success of Indian airlines should not be compromised with an isolated policy. The insular approach to FDI in aviation (is going) to hurt sector majorly," IATA chief Giovanni Bisignani said at a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) conference on aviation here.

Mr Giovanni further said that 10.3% service tax imposed by the finance ministry on the aviation industry is illegal by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) rules.

The government has imposed a service tax of 10.3% on the gross value of tickets of all classes on the domestic flights and economy class on international routes.

Speaking on the occasion Kingfisher Airlines chairman Vijay Mallya expressed disappointment that there is still no comprehensive policy on the aviation sector.

The industry ministry is learnt to be opposed to allowing foreign airlines buying stake in Indian carriers due to security reasons.

Besides, the view in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) is that no other major country permits investment by foreign airlines into their domestic operators.

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