ArchiveFebruary 2010

Public Company shares cannot be fettered at all, says Bombay HC

The Bombay High Court has ruled that any pre-emptive rights over shares in public limited companies are patently illegal in view of the principle of “free transferability” enshrined in Section 111A of the Companies Act, 1956 (“the Act”). This revives the debate on enforceability of shareholder agreements and joint venture agreements governing public limited companies. In the case of Western...

Taxation and the Budget: An Initial Assessment of the Finance Bill, 2010

From the perspective of taxation (particularly income tax and service tax), the budget proposes changes in several areas. Importantly, the Finance Minister has clarified that the Direct Taxes Code will be introduced from 1st April, 2011. The GST will also be sought to be implemented from that date. In this post, I shall look at a few issues in income tax and service tax that may arise out of the...

Overseas Acquisitions and the Impact of National Pride

In the context the proposed overseas acquisitions by Reliance Industries (of LyondellBasell Industries) and Bharti Airtel (of Zain), the M&A Law Prof Blawg has a interesting take on the impact of national pride generated through press attention on such deals. The Blog refers to a recent paper The Cost of Pride: Why Do Firms from Developing Countries Bid Higher?, which concludes that “firms...

Event Announcement: 3rd NLSIR Symposium on Corporate Governance

The National Law School of India Review (NLSIR), the flagship journal of the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, will be hosting the 3rd Annual NLSIR Symposium, ‘Indian Corporate Law and Corporate Governance: At the Crossroads’, in Bangalore, on 10th and 11th April, 2010. Extracts from the concept note for the Symposium may be of interest to our readers...

Pricing Adjustments for FCCBs

On November 27, 2008, the Ministry of Finance introduced changes to the pricing norms for FCCBs. As we had discussed then, two changes were proposed: (i) the minimum price will be the average weekly high and low prices for the 2 weeks prior to the relevant date, instead of the previous price determined as the higher of the average for 6 months and 2 weeks; (ii) the relevant date for price...

TDS u/s 195: Samsung Electronics appeal in the Supreme Court

We have discussed the issue of TDS u/s 195 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 a few times earlier; and have also discussed a recent judgment of the Karnataka High Court in Samsung Electronics. The decision holds that deduction must be made u/s 195 on all sums paid to a non-resident, irrespective of the chargeability of the sum.s As was argued in the earlier posts, this view merits reconsideration. In a...

The Court of Appeal Reaffirms the Sanctity of the Corporate Form

Few issues have proved to be more controversial than the strength of the principle that the company is a separate legal entity. The exceptions to the principle – commonly referred to as “lifting” or “piercing” the corporate veil – are both statutory and judge-made. The statutory exceptions are, in the main, not controversial. However, while there is agreement that courts are entitled to lift the...

Service Tax and Works Contracts

A recent decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Commissioner of Central Excise v. Vahoo Colour Lab clarifies the scope of service tax in the context of works contracts. Issues around works contracts have been controversial in relation to income tax as well as sales tax. The controversy in income tax law (in relation to TDS under Section 194C) has been discussed here; and the issue of sales...

Easing the FDI Approval Process

The Government has introduced a recent change to the approval process for FDI that may ease the process, at least for some large transactions. The threshold for obtaining the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has been increased from Rs. 600 crore (Rs. 6 billion) to Rs. 1200 crore (Rs. 12 billion). The press release sums up the change: Presently, the recommendations of the...

Do Auctions in Public Offerings Work?

The SEBI (Issue of Capital and Disclosure) Regulations, 2009 were recently amended to provide for “French” auction as one of the methods of price discovery in follow-on public offerings. This was supposedly brought about with a view to encourage the use of such auction mechanism in Government disinvestments. However, the results emanating from the first offering where the auction mechanism was...

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