New Delhi, September 7
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 $1-billion refund resulting from the scrapping of a retrospective tax law.
Bonanza for shareholders
- Cairn Energy on Tuesday pledged to return up to $700 million to shareholders through a special dividend and a share buyback offer this year
- Last month, India passed the legislation to cancel a 2012 policy that gave the tax department power to slap capital gains levies wherever ownership had changed hands overseas but business assets were in India
The firm 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 said 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.
“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.
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 agree to drop litigations, including claims for interest and penalties. Of this, Rs 7,900 crore is due only to Cairn. — PTI
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