Indian state energy giant may counter Vedanta: report

18th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

India's state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) may counter an offer worth up to 9.6 billion dollars by Britain's Vedanta Resources for mining assets in India, a report said on Wednesday.

Vedanta said Monday it would buy a controlling stake in the Indian unit of Britain's Cairn Energy as it targets aluminium, copper, iron ore and zinc mines in the country.

But Indian financial daily Mint reported Wednesday that the government was looking into thwarting the move in a bid to consolidate strategic assets under state control.

ONGC is a joint venture partner with Cairn in the British group's main oil asset in the country in the western state of Rajasthan.

"The question is how to get it to ONGC," the paper quoted an unnamed top official in the petroleum ministry as saying. "Somebody has to give a better offer."

ONGC chairman R.S Sharma said the government had not given him any directive but that the company was looking into the proposed deal by Vedanta.

"We have not yet decided to bid," he added.

"ONGC is waiting for the government's direction," Mint quoted an unnamed ONGC director as saying. "Our board meeting is scheduled for August 26."

© 2010 AFP

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