USD 1bn refund offer acceptable to firm, to drop cases within days: Cairn CEO
   Date :08-Sep-2021

USD 1bn refund_1 &nb
By Ammar Zaidi :
UK-BASED Cairn Energy PLC on Tuesday said it will drop litigations to seize Indian properties in countries ranging from France to the US, within a couple of days of getting a USD 1 billion refund resulting from the scrapping of a retrospective tax law. The firm, which gave India its biggest onland oil discovery, termed “bold” the legislation passed last month to cancel a 2012 policy that gave the tax department power to go back 50 years and slap capital gains levies wherever ownership had changed hands overseas but business assets were in India. The offer to return money seized to enforce retrospective tax demand in lieu of dropping all litigations against the Government “is acceptable to us,” Cairn CEO Simon Thomson told PTI in an interview from London.
Cairn will drop cases to seize diplomatic apartments in Paris and Air India airplanes in the US in “a matter of a couple of days” after the refund, he said adding Cairn’s shareholders are in agreement with accepting the offer and moving on. Seeking to repair India’s damaged reputation as an investment destination, the Government last month enacted new legislation to drop Rs 1.1 lakh crore in outstanding claims against multinationals such as telecom group Vodafone, pharmaceuticals company Sanofi and brewer SABMiller, now owned by AB InBev, and Cairn. About Rs 8,100 crore collected from companies under the scrapped tax provision are to be refunded if the firms agreed to drop outstanding litigation, including claims for interest and penalties.
Of this, Rs 7,900 crore is due only to Cairn. “Some of our core shareholders likes BlackRock and Franklin Templeton agree (to this). Our view is supported by our core shareholders (that) on balance it is better to accept and move on and be pragmatic. Rather than continue with something negative for all parties which could last for many years,” he said. Cairn in its half-yearly report on Tuesday said it will return up to USD 700 million out of the Rs 7,900 crore (USD 1.06 billion) it is supposed to get from the Indian government, to “shareholders via special dividend and buyback.” Asked if the company would make a comeback to India, Thomson said India will become another potential investment destination once the issue is closed. “If there is right opportunity, why not,” he said.