Section 232 of Companies Act, 2013 – Merger and amalgamation of companies

  • Updated Till : September 18, 2019

SECTION 232. MERGER AND AMALGAMATION OF COMPANIES

[Effective from 15th December, 2016]

(1) Where an application is made to the [2]Tribunal under section 230 for the sanctioning of a compromise or an arrangement proposed between a company and any such persons as are mentioned in that section, and it is shown to the [2]Tribunal—

(a)   that the compromise or arrangement has been proposed for the purposes of, or in connection with, a scheme for the reconstruction of the company or companies involving merger or the amalgamation of any two or more companies; and

(b)   that under the scheme, the whole or any part of the undertaking, property or liabilities of any company (hereinafter referred to as the transferor company) is required to be transferred to another company (hereinafter referred to as the transferee company), or is proposed to be divided among and transferred to two or more companies,

the [2]Tribunal may on such application, order a meeting of the creditors or class of creditors or the members or class of members, as the case may be, to be called, held and conducted in such manner as the [2]Tribunal may direct and the provisions of sub-sections (3) to (6) of section 230 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(2) Where an order has been made by the [2]Tribunal under sub-section (1), merging companies or the companies in respect of which a division is proposed, shall also be required to circulate the following for the meeting so ordered by the [2]Tribunal, namely:—

(a)   the draft of the proposed terms of the scheme drawn up and adopted by the directors of the merging company;

(b)   confirmation that a copy of the draft scheme has been filed with the Registrar;

(c)   a report adopted by the directors of the merging companies explaining effect of compromise on each class of shareholders, key managerial personnel, promoters and non-promoter shareholders laying out in particular the share exchange ratio, specifying any special valuation difficulties;

(d)   the report of the expert with regard to valuation, if any;

(e)   a supplementary accounting statement if the last annual accounts of any of the merging company relate to a financial year ending more than six months before the first meeting of the company summoned for the purposes of approving the scheme.

(3) The [2]Tribunal, after satisfying itself that the procedure specified in sub-sections (1) and (2) has been complied with, may, by order, sanction the compromise or arrangement or by a subsequent order, make provision for the following matters, namely:—

(a)        the transfer to the transferee company of the whole or any part of the undertaking, property or liabilities of the transferor company from a date to be determined by the parties unless the [2]Tribunal, for reasons to be recorded by it in writing, decides otherwise;

(b)   the allotment or appropriation by the transferee company of any shares, debentures, policies or other like instruments in the company which, under the compromise or arrangement, are to be allotted or appropriated by that company to or for any person:

Provided that a transferee company shall not, as a result of the compromise or arrangement, hold any shares in its own name or in the name of any trust whether on its behalf or on behalf of any of its subsidiary or associate companies and any such shares shall be cancelled or extinguished;

(c)   the continuation by or against the transferee company of any legal proceedings pending by or against any transferor company on the date of transfer;

(d)   dissolution, without winding-up, of any transferor company;

(e)   the provision to be made for any persons who, within such time and in such manner as the [2]Tribunal directs, dissent from the compromise or arrangement;

(f)   where share capital is held by any non-resident shareholder under the foreign direct investment norms or guidelines specified by the Central Government or in accordance with any law for the time being in force, the allotment of shares of the transferee company to such shareholder shall be in the manner specified in the order;

(g)   the transfer of the employees of the transferor company to the transferee company;

(h)   where the transferor company is a listed company and the transferee company is an unlisted company,—

(A)   the transferee company shall remain an unlisted company until it becomes a listed company;

(B)   if shareholders of the transferor company decide to opt out of the transferee company, provision shall be made for payment of the value of shares held by them and other benefits in accordance with a pre-determined price formula or after a valuation is made, and the arrangements under this provision may be made by the [2]Tribunal:

Provided that the amount of payment or valuation under this clause for any share shall not be less than what has been specified by the Securities and Exchange Board under any regulations framed by it;

(i)   where the transferor company is dissolved, the fee, if any, paid by the transferor company on its authorised capital shall be set-off against any fees payable by the transferee company on its authorised capital subsequent to the amalgamation; and

(j)   such incidental, consequential and supplemental matters as are deemed necessary to secure that the merger or amalgamation is fully and effectively carried out:

Provided that no compromise or arrangement shall be sanctioned by the [2]Tribunal unless a certificate by the company’s auditor has been filed with the [2]Tribunal to the effect that the accounting treatment, if any, proposed in the scheme of compromise or arrangement is in conformity with the accounting standards prescribed under section 133.

(4) Where an order under this section provides for the transfer of any property or liabilities, then, by virtue of the order, that property shall be transferred to the transferee company and the liabilities shall be transferred to and become the liabilities of the transferee company and any property may, if the order so directs, be freed from any charge which shall by virtue of the compromise or arrangement, cease to have effect.

(5) Every company in relation to which the order is made shall cause a certified copy of the order to be filed with the Registrar for registration within thirty days of the receipt of certified copy of the order.

(6) The scheme under this section shall clearly indicate an appointed date from which it shall be effective and the scheme shall be deemed to be effective from such date and not at a date subsequent to the appointed date.

(7) Every company in relation to which the order is made shall, until the completion of the scheme, file a statement in such form and within such time as may be prescribed with the Registrar every year duly certified by a chartered accountant or a cost accountant or a company secretary in practice indicating whether the scheme is being complied with in accordance with the orders of the [2]Tribunal or not.

(8) If a transferor company or a transferee company contravenes the provisions of this section, the transferor company or the transferee company, as the case may be, shall be punishable with fine which shall not be less than one lakh rupees but which may extend to twenty-five lakh rupees and every officer of such transferor or transferee company who is in default, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which shall not be less than one lakh rupees but which may extend to three lakh rupees, or with both.

Explanation.For the purposes of this section,—

(i)   in a scheme involving a merger, where under the scheme the undertaking, property and liabilities of one or more companies, including the company in respect of which the compromise or arrangement is proposed, are to be transferred to another existing company, it is a merger by absorption, or where the undertaking, property and liabilities of two or more companies, including the company in respect of which the compromise or arrangement is proposed, are to be transferred to a new company, whether or not a public company, it is a merger by formation of a new company;

(ii)   references to merging companies are in relation to a merger by absorption, to the transferor and transferee companies, and, in relation to a merger by formation of a new company, to the transferor companies;

(iii)   a scheme involves a division, where under the scheme the undertaking, property and liabilities of the company in respect of which the compromise or arrangement is proposed are to be divided among and transferred to two or more companies each of which is either an existing company or a new company; and

(iv)   property includes assets, rights and interests of every description and liabilities include debts and obligations of every description.

Applicable Rules

Companies (Compromises, Arrangements and Amalgamations) Rules, 2016

[Effective from 15th December, 2016]

[1] [Rule18. Application for directions under section 232 of the Act.— (1) Where the compromise or arrangement has been proposed for the purposes of or in connection with a scheme for the reconstruction of any company or companies or the amalgamation of any two or more companies, and the matters involved cannot be dealt with or dealt with adequately on the petition for sanction of the compromise or arrangement, an application shall be made to the Tribunal under section 232 of the Act, by a notice of admission supported by an affidavit for directions of the Tribunal as to the proceedings to be taken.

(2) Notice of admission in such cases shall be given in such manner and to such persons as the Tribunal may direct.

 Rule 19. Directions at hearing of application.— Upon the hearing of the notice of admission given under rule 18 or upon any adjourned hearing thereof, the Tribunal may make such order or give such directions as it may think fit, as to the proceedings to be taken for the purpose of reconstruction or amalgamation, as the case may be, including, where necessary, an inquiry as to the creditors of the transferor company and the securing of the debts and claims of any of the dissenting creditors in such manner as the Tribunal may think just and appropriate

Rule 20. Order under section 232 of the Act.— An order made under section 232 read with section 230 of the Act shall be inForm No.CAA.7 with such variation as the circumstances may require

Rule 21. Statement of compliance in mergers and amalgamations.— For the purpose of sub-section (7) of section 232 of the Act, every company in relation to which an order is made under sub-section (3) of section 232 of the Act shall until the scheme is fully implemented, file with the Registrar of Companies, the statement in Form No. CAA.8 along with such fee as specified in the Companies (Registration Offices and Fees) Rules, 2014 within two hundred and ten days from the end of each financial year.

Rule 22. Report on working of compromise or arrangement.— At any time after issuing an order sanctioning the compromise or arrangement, the Tribunal may, either on its own motion or on the application of any interested person, make an order directing the company or where the company is being wound-up, its liquidator, to submit to the Tribunal within such time as the Tribunal may fix, a report on the working of the said compromise or arrangement and on consideration of the report, the Tribunal may pass such orders or give such directions as it may think fit.

Rule 23. Liberty to apply.— (1) The company, or any creditor or member thereof, or in case of a company which is being wound-up, its liquidator, may, at any time after the passing of the order sanctioning the compromise or arrangement, apply to the Tribunal for the determination of any question relating to the working of the compromise or arrangement.

(2) The application shall in the first instance be posted before the Tribunal for directions as to the notices and the advertisement, if any, to be issued, as the Tribunal may direct.

(3) The Tribunal may, on such application, pass such orders and give such directions as it may think fit in regard to the matter, and may make such modifications in the compromise or arrangement as it may consider necessary for the proper working thereof, or pass such orders as it may think fit in the circumstances of the case.

Rule 24. Liberty of the Tribunal.— (1) At any time during the proceedings, if the Tribunal hearing a petition or application under these Rules is of the opinion that the petition or application or evidence or information or statement is required to be filed in the form of affidavit, the same may be ordered by the Tribunal in the manner as the Tribunal may think fit.

(2) The Tribunal may pass any direction(s) or order or dispense with any procedure prescribed by these rules in pursuance of the object of the provisions for implementation of the scheme of arrangement or compromise or restructuring or otherwise practicable except on those matters specifically provided in the Act.]

Applicable Circulars

Clarification under section 232(6) Companies Act, 2013

General Circular No. 09/2019 dated 21-08-2019

Several queries have been received in the Ministry with respect to interpretation of the provision of section 232(6) of the Companies Act, 2013 (Act). Clarification has been sought on whether it is mandatory to indicate a specific calendar date as ‘appointed date’ in the schemes referred to in the section. Further, requests have also been received to confirm whether the,acquisition date’ for the purpose of Ind-AS 103 (Business combinations) would be the ‘appointed date’ referred to in section 232(6).

The matter has been examined in detail in the Ministry in the light of the provisions of the Act, applicable rules, prevalent practices and orders passed by Courts/NCLT. It is noted that companies have been filing schemes under sections 230-232 of the Act indicating ‘appointed date’ either as a specific calendar date or an event based date, as may have been mutually agreed upon by the parties to the scheme. Section 232(5) also requires that every company in relation to which the order is made shall file a certified copy of the order with the Registrar of Companies for registration within 30 days of the receipt of certified copy of the order.

In Marshall Sons & Co. India Ltd. v. lTO [223lTR 809], it was held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court that every scheme of amalgamation has to necessarily provide a date with effect from which the amalgamation/transfer shall take place, and that such date may precede the date of sanctioning of the scheme by the Court, the date of filing of certified copies of the orders of the Court before the Registrar of Companies, and the date of allotment of shares, etc. It was observed therein that, the scheme, however, would be given effect from the transfer date (appointed dare) itself.

In another case, in the matter of amalgamation of Equitas Housing Finance Limited and Equitas Micro Finance Limited with Equitas Finance Limited in C.P.Nos.191 to 121 of 2016, the Hon’ble Madras High Court held that the provisions of section 394 (1) of the Companies Act,1956 (corresponding to section 232 of the Companies Act, 2013) provided enough leeway to a company to delay the date on which the scheme of amalgamation shall take effect and tie the same to the occurrence of an event. Thus, the Court rejected the argument that the ‘appointed date’ in the scheme should necessarily be a specific calendar date.

Section 232(6) of the Act states that the scheme shall be deemed to be effective from the ‘appointed date’ and not a date subsequent to the ‘appointed date’. This is an enabling provision to allow the companies to decide and agree upon an ‘appointed date’ from which the scheme shall come into force.

In view of the above, it is hereby clarified that:

a) The provision of section 232(6) of the Act enables the companies in question to choose and state in the scheme an ‘appointed date’. This date may be a specific calendar date or may be tied to the occunence ofan event such as grant of license by a competent authority or fulfilment of any preconditions agreed upon by the parties, or meeting any other requirement as agreed upon between the parties, etc.,which are relevant to the scheme.

b) The ‘appointed date’ identified under the scheme shall also be deemed to be the ‘acquisition date’ and date of transfer of control for the purpose of conforming to accounting standards (including Ind-AS 103 Business Combinations)

c) where the ‘appointed date’ is chosen as a specific calendar date, it may precede the date of filing of the application for scheme of merger/amalgamation in NCLT. However, if the ‘appointed date’ is significantly ante-dated beyond a year from the date of filing, the justification for the same would have to be specifically brought out in the scheme and it should not be against public interest.

d) The scheme may identify the ‘appointed date’ based on the occurrence of a trigger event which is key to the proposed scheme and agreed upon by the parties to the scheme. This event would have to be indicated in the scheme itself upon occurrence of which the scheme would become effective. However in case of such event based date being a date subsequent to the date of filing the order with the Registrar under section 232(5), the company shall file an intimation of the same with the Registrar within 30 days of such scheme coming into force.

[1] Inserted by Companies (Compromises, Arrangements and Amalgamations) Rules, 2016 vide Notification No. G.S.R 1134(E) dated 14th December, 2016.

[2] For Government Companies for the word “Tribunal”, wherever it occurs, ‘Central Government’ shall be substituted vide Notification F. No. 1/2/2014-CL-V dated 13th June 2017

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