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Cairn Energy says it eased losses, seeks India tax deal

LONDON--Cairn Energy reduced group losses in the first half on lower costs, the British oil and gas explorer revealed on Tuesday as it seeks to settle a tax dispute in India.

Net losses stood at US$62.1 million (46.5 million euros) in the six months to the end of June compared with a loss after tax of US$219.1 million in the first half of 2013, Cairn said in an earnings statement.

Last year, Cairn sank into a net loss of US$556 million after taking a hit from unsuccessful drilling in Morocco and the North Sea.

Alongside the results, Cairn Energy chief executive Simon Thomson said the group “continues to seek resolution of the tax issue in India and will take all necessary steps to protect shareholders' interests.”

Edinburgh-based Cairn has received a request from Indian tax authorities to provide information relating to its 2006/2007 financial year, following a retrospective change in taxation laws in 2012.

While the probe continues, Cairn is restricted from selling its remaining Cairn India Limited (CIL) stake, which totals about ten percent.

In late 2011, Cairn agreed to sell a controlling stake in CIL to India-focused Vedanta Resources for US$6.5 billion.

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