Templeton opposes Vedanta firms' merger plans-report
MUMBAI (Reuters) - Templeton Asset Management Ltd is trying to block a planned merger between India's Sesa Goa (SESA.NS) and Sterlite Industries (STRL.NS), both of which are controlled by miner Vedanta Resources (VED.L), the Economic Times newspaper reported on Saturday, citing unnamed sources.
Sesa Goa has called a shareholders meeting on June 19 to vote on the merger, while Templeton is trying to muster support to block the resolution, the newspaper said, adding that the fund was in talks with other institutional holders in Sesa Goa.
In February, Vedanta Resources said it was simplifying its business structure by merging its Indian subsidiaries into a single unit to cut costs, and it planned to issue American Depositary Shares in the combined firm.
Templeton, which owns a 13 percent stake in Sesa Goa, is the second largest shareholder in the company after the founders, and is the largest institutional investor in the Indian miner.
Templeton is worried about the huge debt burden of another Vedanta unit, which is also to be merged into Sesa Goa, also has concerns about an aluminum project belonging to that unit, the paper said. It said Templeton would need over 25 percent of the votes to block the resolution.
"(It's only) Templeton, not all shareholders have issues. We have always ensured that the interests of all shareholders are protected and the merger will only enhance the medium and long-term value of their investments," the paper quoted an email reply from Sesa Goa as saying.
Templeton was not immediately available for comment. A Vedanta group spokesman in New Delhi declined to comment.
For the newspaper story, see link.reuters.com/ket58s
(Reporting by Indulal PM; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)
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