The Murli Deora-run petroleum and natural gas ministry will decide by early February whether to allow Cairn Energy Plc to sell a majority stake in its Indian unit to Vedanta Resources PLC, the ministry's secretary S Sundereshan said today.
"The final documentation with some conditions from Cairn Energy has been received by us at the end of November. We require six to eight weeks to examine that. So hopefully we will have a decision by end month or very early February," Sundareshan told reporters in New Delhi.
The prime minister's office has asked the oil m ministry to decide on giving consent to Vedanta Resources' $9.6-billion acquisition of Cairn India by January end, at least a month earlier than the deadline Deora's ministry had set for itself.
The directive followed a one-on-one meeting between Vedanta chairman Anil Agarwal and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last Wednesday. Agarwal reportedly pressed for an early decision.
Vedanta is seeking to buy a 40 to 51 per cent stake in Cairn India from Edinburgh-based Cairn Energy Plc. Thereafter, London- listed firm's Indian unit Sesa Goa will make an open offer for an additional 20-per cent stake to minority shareholders of Cairn India, according to Securities and Exchange Board of India rules. Both these transactions are to close by 15 April.
Government approval is necessary for the proposed deal, which was agreed in August, to go through.