Mergers & Amalgamations

Mergers & Amalgamations - Procedural Aspects
Mergers and acquisitions have become a symbol of the new economic world. Almost every day one reads of a new merger or acquisition doing the rounds of the corporate circles. It also brings with it complex issues relating to laws and regulations impacting such M & A decisions. In today's business scenario, all companies are possible targets for acquisitions or mergers. As a result a knowledge of the laws relating to them is extremely useful. At the same time they are critical to the health of the businesses and thereby the shareholders. Hence this subject is assuming greater importance in today's business world. The author has attempted to bring out the fundamental issues under the companies Act, 1956 and the implications under the Income tax Act, 1961.

1. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
1.1 Reasons for merger/amalgamation There is not one single reason for a merger but a multitude of reasons, namely (i) Synergy in operating economies: When two or more undertakings combine their resources and efforts they may with combined efforts produce better results than two separate undertakings because of the savings in operating costs viz. Combined sales offices, staff, staff facilities, plant management etc. Synergy is also possible in areas of production, finance, technology etc. (ii) Taxation advantages: Mergers take place to have benefits of tax laws and company having accumulated losses may merge with profit earning company that will shield the income from taxation. Section 72A of the Income Tax Act provides this incentive. (iii) Other advantages: • • • • • • Growth Diversification Production capacity reduction Operating efficiencies Procurement of supplies Financial Strength (because of larger size of merged assets)

One significant cost disadvantage could be the implication of Stamp Duty which is applicable on transfer of assets from one owner to another. In some states the rate of duty is significant and hence may to some extent neutrilise the cost advantage of savings in tax 1.2 Evolution in India Compelled by the present economic scenario and market trends, corporate restructuring through mergers, amalgamations, takeovers and acquisitions, has emerged as the best form of survival and growth. The opening up of the Indian economy and the government's decision to disinvest, has made corporate restructuring more relevant today. In the last few years, India has followed the worldwide trends in consolidation amongst companies through mergers and acquisitions. Companies are being taken over, units are being hived off, joint ventures tantamount to acquisitions are being made and so on. It may be

The harsh reality of globalisation has dawned that companies which cannot compete globally must sell out as an inevitable alternative". 2. (ii) Approval of Board of Directors for the scheme: Respective Board of Directors of transferor and transferee companies are required to approve the scheme of amalgamation/ merger. 1956 of effecting mergers and the corresponding Income Tax implications arising therein. 3. (iv) Intimation to stock exchange about proposed amalgamation/ merger: Listing agreements entered into between company and stock exchange require the company to communicate price-sensitive information to the stock exchange immediately and simultaneously when released to press and other electronic media on conclusion of Board meeting according approval to the scheme (v) Application to Court for directions: The next step is to make an application under section 391(1) of the Companies Act to the High Court having jurisdiction over the Registered office of the company. The transferor company and the transferee company should make separate applications to the High Court. (vi) High Court directions for members' meeting: Upon the hearing of the summons. for an order calling a meeting of its members. time and venue and quorum for the members' meeting and appoint and Advocate Chairman to preside over the meeting and submit a report to the Court. 1956. (iii) Approval of the scheme by financial institutions banks/trustees for debenture holders: The Board of Directors should in-fact approve the scheme only after it has been cleared by the financial institutions/banks which have granted loans to these companies or the debenture trustees to void any major change in the meeting of creditors to the convened at the instance of the company courts under section 391 of the Companies Act. statement under section 393 of the Companies Act and form of proxy to be sent to members alongwith the said notice (viii) Despatch of notices to members/shareholders: Once the notice has been signed by the chairman of the forthcoming meeting as aforesaid it could be despatched to the members under certificate of posting at least 21 days before the date of the meeting. An attempt has been made to state the regulatory framework in as simple language as possible. (vii) Approval of Registrar of High Court to notice for calling the meeting of members: Pursuant to the directions of the court. the transferor as well as the transferee companies shall submit for approval to the Registrar of the respective High Courts the draft notices calling the meetings of the members together with a scheme of arrangements and explanations. industrialists have realised that mergers/acquisitions are perhaps the best route to reach a size comparable to global companies so as to effectively compete with them.reasonably be stated that the quantum of mergers and acquisitions in the last few years must be more than the corresponding quantum in the four and a half decades post independence. PROCEDURE UNDER THE COMPANIES ACT. Supreme Court of India in the landmark judgement of HLL-TOMCO merger has said that "in this era of hypercompetitive capitalism and technological change. 1956 (i) Scheme of Amalgamation/Merger: The Scheme of amalgamation/merger should be prepared by the companies which have arrived at a consensus to merge. the High Court shall give directions fixing the date. . SCOPE AND OBJECTIVE OF THIS ARTICLE The objective and scope of this article is to make an overview of the procedural aspects under the Indian Companies Act.

(xviii) Dissolution of transferor company: Section 394(1)(iv) vests powers in the High Court. (xii) Filing of resolutions of general meetings with Registrar of Companies: Once the shareholders' general meetings approves the amalgamation/merger scheme by a majority in number of members holding not less that 3/4ths in value of the equity shares. either by order sanctioning the scheme or by a subsequent order of dissolution. Company Law Board and will take into consideration the representations. (xiii) Submission of report of the chairman of the general meeting to court: The chairman of the general meeting of shareholders is required to submit to the Court within 7 days from the date of the meetings a report setting out therein the number of persons who attend either personally or by proxy. A copy of the resolution passed by the shareholders approving the scheme of amalgamation/ merger should be filed with the Registrar of Companies within 30 days from the date of passing the resolution. made by him (xvi) Hearing of petition and confirmation of scheme: Having taken up the petition by the Court for hearing it will hear the objections first and if there is no objection to the amalgamation/merger scheme from Regional Director or from any other person who is entitled to oppose the scheme. the scheme is binding on all the members of the company. the Court may pass an order approving the scheme of amalgamation/merger. (x) Confirmation about service of the notice: Ensure that at lease one week before the date for the meeting the Chairman appointed for the meetings files an Affidavit to the court about the service of notices to the shareholders that the directions regarding the issue of notices and advertisement have been duly compiled with. without winding up. (xiv) Submission of joint petition to court for sanctioning the scheme: Within 7 days from date on which the chairman has submitted his report about the result of the meeting to the court. made a report to the Court that the affairs of the company have not been conducted in a manner prejudicial to the interests of its members or to public interest. (xv) Issue of notice to Regional Director's Company Law Board under section 394A: On receipt of the petition for amalgamation/ merger under section 391 the court will give notice of the petition to the Regional Director. and the percentage of shareholders who voted in favour of the scheme as well as the resolution passed by the meeting. (xix) Transfer of assets and liabilities: Section 394(2) vests power in the High Court to order for the transfer of any property or liabilities from transferor company to transferee company (xx) Allotment of shares to shareholders of transferor company: Pursuant to the . (xi) Holding the shareholders general meeting and passing the resolutions: The general meeting should be held on the appointed date. both the companies should make a joint petition to the High Court for approving the scheme of amalgamation/ merger. The amalgamation/merger scheme should be approved by the members by a majority in number of members present in person or on proxy and voting o the resolution and this majority must represent at least 3/4ths in value of the shares held by the members who vote in the poll. of any transferor company provided the official liquidation has. if any. (xvii) Filing of Courts order with ROC by both the Companies: Both the transferor and transferee companies should obtain the Court's order sanctioning the scheme of amalgamation/ merger and file the same with ROC with their respective jurisdiction as required vide section 394(3) of the within 30 days after the date of the Courts order. on scrutiny of the books and papers of the company.(ix) Advertisement of the notice of member meeting: The court may direct the issuance of notice of the meeting of these shareholders by advertisement.

4. All the property of the amalgamating company or companies immediately before the amalgamation becomes the property of the amalgamated company by virtue of amalgamation 2. 4. otherwise than as a result of the acquisition of the property of one company by another company pursuant to the purchase of such property by the other company or as a result of distribution of such property to the other company after the winding up of first mentioned company. amalgamation in relation to companies means the merger of one or more companies with another company or the merger of two or more companies to form one company (the company or companies which so merge being referred to as the amalgamating company or companies and the company with which they merge or which is formed as a result of the merger.1 Definition of amalgamation According to section 2(1B) of the Income-tax Act. creditors and debtors about the transfer of the transferor company's assets and liabilities in the name of the transferee company. transfer of investments of transferor company in the name of the transferee. for listing the new shares allotted to the shareholders of the transferor company.2 Tax Concessions If any amalgamation takes place within the meaning of section 2(1B) of the Act. All the liabilities of the amalgamating company or companies immediately before the amalgamation become the liabilities of the amalgamated company by virtue of amalgamation 3. the shareholders of the transferor company are entitled to get shares in the transferee company in the exchange ratio provided under the said scheme. (xxiv) Post merger secretarial obligation: There are various formalities to be compiled with after amalgamation of the companies is given effect to and allotment of shares to the shareholders of the transferor company is over. (xxiii) Preservation of books and papers of amalgamated company: Section 396A of the Act requires that the books and papers of the amalgamated company should be preserved and not be disposed of without prior permission of the Central Government. These formalities include filing of returns with Registrar of Companies. 1961 (hereinafter referred to as the Act). Shareholders holding not less than 3/4th in value of the shares in amalgamating company or companies (other than shares held therein immediately before the amalgamation or by a nominee for the amalgamated company or its subsidiary) become shareholders of the amalgamated company by virtue of the amalgamation. intimating banks and financial institutions. 1961 4. the company which takes over the assets and liabilities of the transferor company should apply to the Stock Exchanges where its securities are listed. (xxii) Court order to be annexed to memorandum of transferee company: It is the mandatory requirement vide section 391(4) that after the certified copy of the Court's order sanctioning the scheme of amalgamation/ merger is filed with the Registrar. it should be annexed to every copy of the Memorandum issued by the transferee company. Tax concession to shareholders of the amalgamating company 3. as the amalgamated company) in such a manner that 1. Tax concession to amalgamated company . IMPLICATIONS UNDER THE INCOME TAX ACT. (xxi) Listing of shares at stock exchange: After the amalgamation/merger is effected.sanctioned scheme of amalgamation/ merger. Tax concession to amalgamating company 2. the following tax concession shall be available 1.

such transfer will not be regarded as a transfer for the purpose of capital gain provided the amalgamated company. for computing the period of holding of such shares. is an Indian company (ii) Tax concessions to the shareholders of an amalgamating company section 47(vii): Where as shareholder of an amalgamating company transfers his shares. the provisions of section 35 which were applicable to the amalgamating company shall become applicable to the amalgamated company consequently • • Unabsorbed capital expenditure on scientific research of the amalgamating company will be allowed to be carried forward and set off in the hands of the amalgamated company If such asset ceases to be used in a previous year for scientific research related to the business of amalgamated company and is sold by the amalgamated company without having being used for other purposes. the period for which such shares were held in the amalgamating company shall also be included (iii) Tax concessions to the amalgamated company: The amalgamated company shall be eligible for tax concessions only if the following two conditions are satisfied • • The amalgamation satisfies all the three conditions laid down in section 2(1B) and The amalgamated company is an Indian company If the above conditions are satisfied the amalgamated company shall be eligible for following tax concessions (a) Expenditure on Scientific Research Section 35(5): Where an amalgamating company transfers any asset represented by capital expenditure on the scientific research to the amalgamated Indian company in a scheme of amalgamation. Further. the provisions of section 35A which were applicable to the amalgamating company shall become applicable in the same manner to the amalgamated company consequently • • The expenditure on patents copyrights not yet written off shall be allowed to the amalgamated company in the same number or balance instalments Where such rights are later on sold by the amalgamated company. to the extent of the cost of the asset shall be treated as business income other amalgamated company. by an amalgamating company to the amalgamated company. The excess of the sale price over the cost of the asset shall be subject to the provisions of the capital gains (b) Expenditure on acquisition of patent rights or copy rights Section 35A(6): Where the patent or copyrights acquired by the amalgamating company is transferred to any amalgamated Indian company. to whom such assets have been transferred.(i) Tax Concession to Amalgamating company: Capital Gains tax not attracted : According to section 47(vi) where there is a transfer of any capital asset in the scheme of amalgamation. such transaction will not be regards as a transfer for capital gain purposes. the sales price. if following conditions are satisfied • • The transfer of shares is made in consideration of the allotment to him of any share or shares in the amalgamated company and The amalgamated company is an Indian company Cost of acquisition such shares of the amalgamated company are later on transferred The cost of acquisition of such shares of the amalgamated company shall be the cost or acquisition of the shares in the amalgamating company. the treatment of the deficiency/surplus will be same as would have been in the case of the amalgamating company . in a scheme or amalgamation.

Consequently • • • Such transfer shall not be regarded as transfer bythe amagamating company The capital expenditure on family planning not yet written off shall be allowable to the amalgamated company in the same number of balance instalments Where such assets are sold by amalgamated company. deduction under section 35AB is not allowed. deduction under section 35A is not allowed. the provisions of section 36(a)(ix) to the amalgamating company shall become applicable in the same manner. 1999. had amalgamation not taken place. the amalgamated company. which are not yet written off. in a scheme of amalgamation. (f) Treatment of capital expenditure on family planning Section 36(1)(ix): Where the asset representing the capital expenditure on family planning is transferred by the amalgamating company to the Indian amalgamated company. the amount of preliminary expenses of the amalgamating company. being an Indian company. shall be allowed as deduction to the amalgamated company in the same matter as would have been allowed to the amalgamating company. if such expenditure is incurred by the amalgamating company after 31--31998. (e) Amortisation of expenditure in case of amalgamation Section 35DD: Where an assessee. as such expenditure will be eligible for depreciation as intangible asset. such bad debt will be allowed a deduction to the amalgamated company (h) Deduction available under section 80-1A or 801B: Where an undertaking which is entitled to deduction under section 801A/80-1B is transferred in the scheme of amalgamation before the expiry of the period of deduction under section 80-1A or 80-1B then • • No deduction under section 80-1A or 80-1B shall be available to the amalgamating company for the previous year in which amalgamation takes place and The provisions of section 80-1A or 80-1B shall apply to the amalgamated company in such manner in which they would have applied to the amalgamating company (i) Carry forward and set off of business losses and unabsorbed depreciation of the amalgamating company: Under the new provisions of Section 72A of the Act. on or after the 1st day of April. In this case.However. the treatment of the deficiency/surplus will be same as would have been in the case of amalgamating company (g) Treatment of bad debts Section 36(1)(vii): Where due to amalgamation. provisions of depreciation shall aplly (c) Expenditure of know-how Section 35AB(3): With effect from assessment year 2000-01. the assessee shall be allowed a deduction of an amount equal to one-fifth of such expenditure for each of the five successive previous years beginning with the previous year in which the amalgamation or demerger takes place. wholly and exclusively for the purposes of amalgamation or demerger of an undertaking. the debts of amalgamating company have been taken over by the amalgamated company and subsequently such debt or part of the debt becomes bad. However. as such expenditure will be eligibel for depreciation as intangible asset. In this case provisions of depreciation shall apply (d) Treatment of preliminary expenses Section 35D(5): Where an amalgamating company merges in a scheme of amalgamation with the amalgamated company. incurs any expenditure. if such expenditure is incurred by the amalgamting company after 31-3-1998. the amalgamated company shall be entitled to claim deduction under section 35AB in respect of such undertaking to the same extent and in respect of the residual period as it would have bee allowable to the amalgamating company. where there is a transfer of an undertaking under a scheme of amalgamation. the amalgamated company is entitled to carry forward the unabsorbed depreciation and brought forward loss of the amalgamating company provided the following conditions are fulfilled .

the amalgamated company gets a fresh lease of 8 years to carry forward and set off the brought forward loss and unabsorbed depreciation for the amalgamating company.• • • • The amalgamation should be of a company owning an industrial undertaking or ship The amalgamated company holds at least 3/4th of the book value of fixed assets of the amalgamating company for a continuous period of 5 years from the date of amalgamation The amalgamated company continuous the business of the amalgamating company for period of 5 years from the date of amalgamation The amalgamated company fulfills such other conditions. . as may be prescribed to ensure that revival of the business of the amalgamating company or to ensure that the amalgamation is for genuine business purposes It may be noted that in case of amalgamation.

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