Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999

Arbitration Act and FEMA

The judgments of the Delhi HC in Cruz City and SRM Exploration, discussed in Part 1, appears to ignore the earlier decision of the SC in Dropti Devi v Union of India[1], where the SC held (in the context of prosecution under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act) that the legislative objectives of FERA and FEMA are identical, namely, preservation of the foreign exchange resources of the country.

Continue Reading Legislative gap between the Arbitration Act and FEMA: Should Parliament step in? – Part II

Arbitration Act and FEMA

Background

India is one of the few countries that still has exchange controls and does not have full capital account convertibility.

The Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (“FEMA”), empowers the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) to frame regulations, master directions and issue circulars for the enforcement of the FEMA (“FEMA Regulatory Regime”). The FEMA Regulatory Regime contemplates prior RBI approval for certain categories of capital account transactions between residents and non-residents.

The enforcement of international arbitration awards in India, where there is going to be a remittance of foreign exchange from a resident to a non-resident, would invariably have FEMA implications. FEMA implications may also arise in situations where the foreign award provides for transfer of shares between residents and non-residents. If the foreign award is not in conformity with the FEMA Regulatory Regime, in such a situation, can the court, where the enforcement action is filed, decline enforcement on the ground that the foreign award would be contrary to the country’s ‘public policy’.

Continue Reading Legislative gap between the Arbitration Act and FEMA: Should Parliament step in? – Part I

SEBI Updates Framework for Overseas Investments by Alternative Investment Funds and Venture Capital Funds

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (“SEBI”) has updated the regulatory framework applicable to AIFs/ VCFs, seeking to make portfolio investments in offshore companies vide SEBI Circular dated August 17, 2022, titled ‘Guidelines for overseas investment by Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs)/ Venture Capital Funds (VCFs)’ (“SEBI Circular”). AIFs/ VCFs are currently permitted to make portfolio investments in equity and equity linked instruments of offshore venture capital undertakings[1], subject to taking case by case approval of SEBI for each such investment. Such approval is granted by SEBI to AIFs/ VCFs on a ‘first come first serve basis’, within an overall limit of USD 1,500 million.

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Barbarians at the gate – no entry without approval

To say that the Covid-19 has unleashed unprecedented times is an understatement. Every country, government, regulator and citizen across the globe is trying to come to terms with the implications of this deadly virus and surviving it. It is indeed a Hobson’s Choice – to save lives or to save the economy. But several countries, in said and unsaid words, have expressed vulnerability to the corporate raiders from China! They are literally at the gate and it has become a cause of worry for most governments and corporations.

Japan has proposed building an economy that is less dependent on China, so that Japan can mitigate supply chain disruptions caused by the current Covid-19 pandemic. To this end, Japan announced an emergency economic package on April 7, 2020, earmarking 240 billion yen (approximately USD 2.2 billion) for fiscal 2020 to pay  Japanese manufacturing firms to leave China and relocate production either to their home country or to diversify their production bases into South East Asia. Australia, Italy, Spain, and Germany have announced amendments to their respective foreign investment laws to make acquisitions and takeovers by foreigners much harder. So has the European Union. The Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 (FIRRMA) of the United States has seen increased review of foreign investments under the Trump administration due to security and national interest concerns.
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Supreme Court denounces speculative litigation seeking to resist enforcement of foreign awards

Introduction

Over the years, Indian Courts have increasingly limited their interference with arbitral awards. This approach of non-interference is more so when it comes to enforcement of foreign awards under Section 48 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Act”) as has been reaffirmed in a recent judgment of the Supreme Court in Vijay Karia (“Appellants”) and Ors. v. Prysmain Cavi E Sistemi SRL & Ors[1] (“Respondents”).

In this case, the Supreme Court had occasion to consider an appeal against the order of a single judge of the Bombay High Court, allowing enforcement of a London seated foreign award (“Foreign Award’). In doing so, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and came down heavily on the Appellants for engaging in speculative litigation and attempting to invoke the limited powers of the Supreme Court under Article 136[2] only to resist enforcement of the Foreign Award.
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Buy-Backs by Listed Companies - Key Considerations

A listed company proposing to undertake a buy-back is required to primarily comply with the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013 (the “Companies Act”) and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Buy-Back of Securities) Regulations, 2018 (the “SEBI Regulations”). However, a listed company is also required to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers) Regulations, 2011 (the “SEBI Takeover Regulations”), the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015, the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Prohibition of Insider Trading) Regulations, 2015 and other applicable securities laws including in other jurisdictions.

As explained in our earlier blog, as prescribed in the SEBI Regulations, a listed company may undertake a buy-back of its shares and other specified securities through any of the following methods: (a) from the existing holders of securities on a proportionate basis through a tender offer; (b) from the open market either through the book building process or through the stock exchange mechanism; or (c) from odd-lot holders.
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Non-Debt Instruments -The New Rules for Foreign Flows

In a quiet mid-October surprise, nearly four and a half years after the passage of the Finance Act 2015 (20 of 2015), the Government notified the effective date for implementation of the clauses that amended Section 6 of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA). The notification defining debt and non-debt instruments followed suit and then of course the Non Debt Instrument Rules (NDI Rules) under FEMA, which superseded the extant FEMA 20R and 21R.
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Contract Manufacturing - Press Note 4

The question of whether contract manufacturing constitutes “manufacture” from a foreign investment perspective is an oft debated topic in the manufacturing fraternity and many businesses have struggled with this issue for years.

“Contract manufacturing” refers to manufacturing undertaken through a third party and has a range of benefits for the principal manufacturer, including economic efficiency, scale, operational efficiencies and flexibility. For instance, if a specialised set of equipment or skills is required to manufacture a certain product, the principal manufacturer can use the facilities already available with a third party to manufacture these products, instead of investing its capital in creating these facilities for itself. Contract manufacturing also enables a principal manufacturer to utilise a contract manufacturer’s existing supply chains, linkages and labour force. If a principal manufacture has a cyclical manufacturing business, using the facilities of a third party may be more beneficial than making capital investments that may lie idle for large parts of the year. In light of these benefits, contract manufacturing as a business model is one that is preferred by many entities in the manufacturing business.
Continue Reading The Contract Manufacturing Conundrum – Press Note 4 to the Rescue?

what are Press Notes and legal status of press notes

Vital economic policy issues, such as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy have been announced through various Press Notes issued by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry. These Press Notes are not a product of legislative process, nor are they debated before Parliament, and yet they have far reaching consequences on economic policy.
Continue Reading Legal Status of Press Notes