Vedanta raises stake in Cairn India as a deal inches closer

Marion Dakers
OIL firm Vedanta edged closer to sealing its long-awaited purchase of Cairn’s Indian assets yesterday

when it snapped up a 10.4 percent stake from Malaysian oil company Petronas for around $1.5bn (£919m).

Cairn, which owns 62 per cent of Cairn India, agreed last August to sell up to 51 per cent of the firm, while Vedanta hopes to bring its stake up to 70.4 per cent by buying stakes from both Cairn and smaller investors.

But the Indian government has stalled the £5.6bn deal due to a dispute over royalties paid on Cairn’s field in Rajasthan.

Currently, state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp is paying all the royalties.




ROBERT Leitão, Rothschild’s head of UK global financial advisory, has led the team advising Cairn during its tortuous deal with Vedanta. He joined the company in 1998 after nine years at Morgan Grenfell & Co, where he was appointed a director in 1995.

Leitão has been involved in numerous high profile M&A deals, such as investment fund Melrose’s £525m disposal of McKechnie Aerospace in 2007 and Thales’ £51m takeover of data security firm nCipher in 2008.

A chartered accountant, he qualified at Peat Marwick Mitchell (now KPMG) in 1987 and holds an engineering degree from Imperial College London.

James Smith, director of the oil and gas team at Rothschild and also advising Cairn, joined the company in 2008.

His expertise lies in M&A deals involving energy and fossil fuels, having worked for the global oil and gas advisory boutique Harrison Lovegrove and for Merrill Lynch as an oil and gas specialist.

By Eugenio Montesano