New delay for Vedanta's Cairn bid

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The Independent Online

An Indian ministerial panel will refer Vedanta Resources' $9.6bn plan to buy Cairn Energy's India assets back to the Indian cabinet in two weeks, further delaying a deal widely seen as a litmus test for foreign investment in India.

The panel has unanimously decided on a recommendation but will notdisclose it, India's oil minister S Jaipal Reddy said.

While it was expected that the panel would refer the deal back to the cabinet, it was unclear why it could take two weeks, delaying a deal that could help boost investor sentiment in Asia's third-largest economy.

The deal, which would be the largest in India's oil and gas sector, has been on hold for nearly 10 months because of a royalty payment dispute between Cairn India and its partner, state-run ONGC.