India slams Goldman Sachs over PetroKazakh deal

By agencies   |   Monday, 17 October 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: After it lost the bid to take over PetroKazakh, India has accused U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs of presiding over an auction for the PetroKazakhstan oil group that was marred by a "lack of propriety and transparency", the Financial Times reported.

In the report, Indian petroleum minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, said the rules were changed mid-way through the bidding for the Canadian-based company which helped China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) win control of the group.

"The Indian bid was easily highest and the matter should have been closed," Aiyar was quoted as saying.

"I'm sick and tired at the lectures we are given by the West about the rules of the market, the sanctity of contracts and the need for correct procedures."

Chinese oil giant, CNPC won control of PetroKazakhstan in a $4.18 billion deal from under the noses of India's state-controlled Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and its partner, LN Mittal.

Bankers agree ONGC's initial bid of $51 a share was higher than CNPC's $50 but say CNPC was then granted a period of exclusivity because its deal was "deliverable", the newspaper said.

CNPC subsequently raised its offer to $55 for the group that holds oil assets in the central Asia country.

Goldman Sachs said in the report: "We handled a fair and transparent auction."

For Aiyar's part, he complained "Goldman Sachs moved the goalposts while the bidding process was on but since PetroKazakhstan is incorporated in Canada, it's for the Canadians to ensure that actions on their soil are completely legal."

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