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The Times: Cairn Energy pays its first dividend

February 27, 2007

Oil explorer transformed into a FTSE 100 stock by blockbuster Indian discovery, which could have been Shell’s, hands out £481 million Steve Hawkes

Soaraway oil explorer Cairn Energy is handing nearly £500 million back to shareholders in its first ‘dividend’ payout.

The group, transformed into a FTSE 100 blue-chip by a blockbuster discovery in India, will pay investors £3.00 per share – a total of £481 million.

The money comes from the proceeds of the £3.5 billion flotation of the Indian business on the Bombay Stock Exchange earlier this year.

It marks a major milestone for Cairn, which will now focus on new exploration work across South-East Asia

Around £150 million has been retained by Sir Bill Gammell, the chief executive, to look for oil and gas discoveries across South-East Asia.

Cairn will drop out of the FTSE 100 in the first quarterly reshuffle of the index after the cash return is made – most likely June.

Sir Bill, a close friend of both George W Bush and Tony Blair, said he was “delighted” to announce the cash return earlier than expected.

“Following the successful flotation of Cairn India the return of cash to shareholders has been a key priority,” he said.

“Shareholders will receive £3 per share and the remainder of the proceeds will currently be retained by the business with the aim of creating and realising further value for shareholders in the business.”

Investors will receive the payout in early April through a B share structure. After the return is made Cairn will push the button on a 13 for 16 share consolidation.

Cairn’s shares were trading at under 400p when it announced a 500 million barrel find in Rajasthan, north-west India, in early January 2004.

It had bought the exploration block from Shell for little more than £10 million.

A series of subsequent discoveries in the same region sent Cairn’s shares through the roof and to as high as 2500p, making a fortune for long-term bulls of the stock such as Deutsche Bank and Artemis.

Sentiment has turned against the company of late as it struggles to reach an agreement with Indian authorities on a pipeline necessary to transport oil from Rajasthan. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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