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Vedanta delists from London Stock Exchange amid protests

Volcan Investments Ltd, controlled by Agarwal as Executive Chairman, had announced a successful buyout of the company's shares last month.

October 01, 2018 / 11:10 PM IST

Indian mining tycoon Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Resources formally delisted from the London Stock Exchange amid protests outside its final annual general meeting on October 1.

Volcan Investments Ltd, controlled by Agarwal as Executive Chairman, had announced a successful buyout of the company's shares last month.

"Vedanta confirms that the listing of Vedanta Shares on the Official List of the UK Listing Authority and the trading of Vedanta Shares on the main market for listed securities of the London Stock Exchange has been cancelled with effect from 8.00 am today [Monday]," Vedanta Resources said in a statement.

The move came as a group of around 50-60 protesters, coordinated by grassroots organisations Foil Vedanta and Anti Sterlite People's Movement, gathered outside the company's final meeting in London to demand justice for the 13 protesters who died at Vedanta's copper smelter in Tamil Nadu in May.

"The people of Thoothukudi are still reeling from the massacre of innocent women, men and children in May, which was carried out in the name of protecting Vedanta's industry from the people whom it has polluted for so many years," said Fatima Babu, from the Anti Sterlite People's Movement.


"The Tamil Nadu, Indian and British government's must all take responsibility for the lawlessness and disproportionate power wielded by Vedanta, which led to this tragic event," she said.

At a smaller demonstration earlier, representatives gathered at Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) headquarters in London to hand over a copy of a new report titled 'Vedanta's Billions', which demands that British regulatory authorities must not let Vedanta "flee the London Stock Exchange" without being held to account.

"We cannot let Vedanta boss Anil Agarwal escape accountability and justice in the UK, under whose jurisdiction he has committed widespread financial, human rights and environmental crimes," said Foil Vedanta's Samarendra Das, who is the primary author of a new report titled 'Vedanta's Billions'.

The report is a summary of legal judgments against Vedanta across its operations, holding the company responsible of "abusive modus operandi" due to "illegal mining in Goa, pollution and tax evasion in Zambia, as well as illegal expansion and pollution in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu".

It alleges that the delisting follows the police shooting which killed 13 people, including women and children, on May 22 this year – their 100th day of protest against pollution by Vedanta's copper smelter at Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu.

"The killing is being dubbed a 'corporate massacre' and led to the closure of the Sterlite copper plant. Vedanta's delisting plans were announced shortly afterwards amidst global protests against the company," the report concludes.

Agarwal has previously stated that the buy-out of the London listing was intended to simplify the company's structure and claimed that the liquidity of Indian markets meant that the need for a separate London listing was no longer critical.

In a video message on Twitter soon after the deaths in Thoothikudi in India, he had described the incident as "absolutely unfortunate" and expressed "full sympathy" with the families of those who died in the protests.
first published: Oct 1, 2018 10:59 pm

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