The FDI policy 2012 has provided certain crucial definitions that must be well known to all concerned. Perry4Law and Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB) are sharing the general conditions to be followed by all concerned to make successful and legal FDI in India through this post.
(1) Who Can Invest In India: A non-resident entity (other than a citizen of Pakistan or an entity incorporated in Pakistan) can invest in India, subject to the FDI Policy. A citizen of Bangladesh or an entity incorporated in Bangladesh can invest only under the Government route.
NRIs resident in Nepal and Bhutan as well as citizens of Nepal and Bhutan are permitted to invest in the capital of Indian companies on repatriation basis, subject to the condition that the amount of consideration for such investment shall be paid only by way of inward remittance in free foreign exchange through normal banking channels.
OCBs have been derecognized as a class of investors in India with effect from September 16, 2003. Erstwhile OCBs which are incorporated outside India and are not under the adverse notice of RBI can make fresh investments under FDI Policy as incorporated non-resident entities, with the prior approval of Government of India if the investment is through Government route; and with the prior approval of RBI if the investment is through Automatic route.
An FII may invest in the capital of an Indian Company under the Portfolio Investment Scheme which limits the individual holding of an FII to 10% of the capital of the company and the aggregate limit for FII investment to 24% of the capital of the company. This aggregate limit of 24% can be increased to the sectoral cap/statutory ceiling, as applicable, by the Indian Company concerned through a resolution by its Board of Directors followed by a special resolution to that effect by its General Body and subject to prior intimation to RBI. The aggregate FII investment, in the FDI and Portfolio Investment Scheme, should be within the above caps.
The Indian company which has issued shares to FIIs under the FDI Policy for which the payment has been received directly into company‘s account should report these figures separately under item no. 5 of Form FC-GPR. A daily statement in respect of all transactions (except derivative trade) has to be submitted by the custodian bank in floppy / soft copy in the prescribed format directly to RBI.
Only SEBI registered FII and NRIs as per Schedules 2 and 3 respectively of Foreign Exchange Management (Transfer or Issue of Security by a Person Resident Outside India) Regulations 2000, can invest/trade through a registered broker in the capital of Indian Companies on recognised Indian Stock Exchanges.
A SEBI registered Foreign Venture Capital Investor (FVCI) may contribute up to 100% of the capital of an Indian Venture Capital Undertaking (IVCU) and may also set up a domestic asset management company to manage the fund. All such investments can be made under the automatic route in terms of Schedule 6 to Notification No. FEMA 20. A SEBI registered FVCI can invest in a domestic venture capital fund registered under the SEBI (Venture Capital Fund) Regulations, 1996. Such investments would also be subject to the extant FEMA regulations and extant FDI policy including sectoral caps, etc. SEBI registered FVCIs are also allowed to invest under the FDI Scheme, as non-resident entities, in other companies, subject to FDI Policy and FEMA regulations.
Further, FVCIs are allowed to invest in the eligible securities (equity, equity linked instruments, debt, debt instruments, debentures of an IVCU or VCF, units of schemes / funds set up by a VCF) by way of private arrangement / purchase from a third party also, subject to terms and conditions as stipulated in Schedule 6 of Notification No. FEMA 20 / 2000 -RB dated May 3, 2000 as amended from time to time. It is also being clarified that SEBI registered FVCIs would also be allowed to invest in securities on a recognized stock exchange subject to the provisions of the SEBI (FVCI) Regulations, 2000, as amended from time to time, as well as the terms and conditions stipulated therein.
(2) Qualified Foreign Investors (QFls) investment in equity shares: QFls are permitted to invest through SEBI registered Depository Participants (DPs) only in equity shares of listed Indian companies through recognized brokers on recognized stock exchanges in India as well as in equity shares of Indian companies which are offered to public in India in terms of the relevant and applicable SEBI guidelines/regulations. QFls are also permitted to acquire equity shares by way of right shares, bonus shares or equity shares on account of stock split / consolidation or equity shares on account of amalgamation, demerger or such corporate actions subject to the prescribed investment limits. QFIs are allowed to sell the equity shares so acquired subject to the relevant SEBI guidelines.
The individual and aggregate investment limits for the QFls shall be 5% and 10% respectively of the paid up capital of an Indian company. These limits shall be over and above the FII and NRI investment ceilings prescribed under the Portfolio Investment Scheme for foreign investment in India. Further, wherever there are composite sectoral caps under the extant FDI policy, these limits for QFI investment in equity shares shall also be within such overall FDI sectoral caps.
Dividend payments on equity shares held by QFls can either be directly remitted to the designated overseas bank accounts of the QFIs or credited to the single rupee pool bank account. In case dividend payments are credited to the single rupee pool bank account they shall be remitted to the designated overseas bank accounts of the QFIs within five working days (including the day of credit of such funds to the single rupee pool bank account). Within these five working days, the dividend payments can be also utilized for fresh purchases of equity shares under this scheme, if so instructed by the QFI.
(3) Entities Into Which FDI Can Be Made:
(a) FDI in an Indian Company: Indian companies can issue capital against FDI.
(b) FDI in Partnership Firm / Proprietary Concern: A Non-Resident Indian (NRI) or a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) resident outside India can invest in the capital of a firm or a proprietary concern in India on non-repatriation basis provided;
(i) Amount is invested by inward remittance or out of NRE/FCNR(B)/NRO account maintained with Authorized Dealers / Authorized banks.
(ii) The firm or proprietary concern is not engaged in any agricultural/plantation or real estate business or print media sector.
(iii) Amount invested shall not be eligible for repatriation outside India.
(c) Investments with repatriation option: NRIs/PIO may seek prior permission of Reserve Bank for investment in sole proprietorship concerns/partnership firms with repatriation option. The application will be decided in consultation with the Government of India.
(d) Investment by non-residents other than NRIs/PIO: A person resident outside India other than NRIs/PIO may make an application and seek prior approval of Reserve Bank for making investment in the capital of a firm or a proprietorship concern or any association of persons in India. The application will be decided in consultation with the Government of India.
(e) Restrictions: An NRI or PIO is not allowed to invest in a firm or proprietorship concern engaged in any agricultural/plantation activity or real estate business or print media.
(f) FDI in Venture Capital Fund (VCF): FVCIs are allowed to invest in Indian Venture Capital Undertakings (IVCUs) /Venture Capital Funds (VCFs) /other companies, as stated in paragraph 3.1.6 of this Circular. If a domestic VCF is set up as a trust, a person resident outside India (non-resident entity/individual including an NRI) can invest in such domestic VCF subject to approval of the FIPB. However, if a domestic VCF is set-up as an incorporated company under the Companies Act, 1956, then a person resident outside India (non-resident entity/individual including an NRI) can invest in such domestic VCF under the automatic route of FDI Scheme, subject to the pricing guidelines, reporting requirements, mode of payment, minimum capitalization norms, etc.
(g) FDI in Trusts: FDI in Trusts other than VCF is not permitted.
(h) FDI in Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs): FDI in LLPs is permitted, subject to the following conditions:
(i) FDI will be allowed, through the Government approval route, only in LLPs operating in sectors/activities where 100% FDI is allowed, through the automatic route and there are no FDI-linked performance conditions (such as ‘Non Banking Finance Companies’ or ‘Development of Townships, Housing, Built-up infrastructure and Construction-development projects’ etc.).
(ii) LLPs with FDI will not be allowed to operate in agricultural/plantation activity, print media or real estate business.
(iii) An Indian company, having FDI, will be permitted to make downstream investment in an LLP only if both-the company, as well as the LLP- are operating in sectors where 100% FDI is allowed, through the automatic route and there are no FDI-linked performance conditions.
(iv) LLPs with FDI will not be eligible to make any downstream investments.
(v) Foreign Capital participation in LLPs will be allowed only by way of cash consideration, received by inward remittance, through normal banking channels or by debit to NRE/FCNR account of the person concerned, maintained with an authorized dealer/authorized bank.
(vi) Investment in LLPs by Foreign Institutional Investors (FIls) and Foreign Venture Capital Investors (FVCIs) will not be permitted. LLPs will also not be permitted to avail External Commercial Borrowings (ECBs).
(vii) In case the LLP with FDI has a body corporate that is a designated partner or nominates an individual to act as a designated partner in accordance with the provisions of Section 7 of the LLP Act, 2008, such a body corporate should only be a company registered in India under the Companies Act, 1956 and not any other body, such as an LLP or a trust.
(viii) For such LLPs, the designated partner “resident in India”, as defined under the
‘Explanation’ to Section 7(1) of the LLP Act, 2008, would also have to satisfy the definition of “person resident in India”, as prescribed under Section 2(v)(i) of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999.
(ix) The designated partners will be responsible for compliance with all the above conditions and also liable for all penalties imposed on the LLP for their contravention, if any.
(x) Conversion of a company with FDI, into an LLP, will be allowed only if the above stipulations are met and with the prior approval of FIPB/Government.
(i) FDI in other Entities: FDI in resident entities other than those mentioned above is not permitted.
(4) Types Of Instruments: Indian companies can issue equity shares, fully, compulsorily and mandatorily convertible debentures and fully, compulsorily and mandatorily convertible preference shares subject to pricing guidelines/valuation norms prescribed under FEMA Regulations. The price/ conversion formula of convertible capital instruments should be determined upfront at the time of issue of the instruments. The price at the time of conversion should not in any case be lower than the fair value worked out, at the time of issuance of such instruments, in accordance with the extant FEMA regulations [the DCF method of valuation for the unlisted companies and valuation in terms of SEBI (ICDR) Regulations, for the listed companies.
Other types of Preference shares/Debentures i.e. non-convertible, optionally convertible or partially convertible for issue of which funds have been received on or after May 1, 2007 are considered as debt. Accordingly all norms applicable for ECBs relating to eligible borrowers, recognized lenders, amount and maturity, end-use stipulations, etc. shall apply. Since these instruments would be denominated in rupees, the rupee interest rate will be based on the swap equivalent of London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) plus the spread as permissible for ECBs of corresponding maturity.
The inward remittance received by the Indian company vide issuance of DRs and FCCBs are treated as FDI and counted towards FDI.
(a) Issue of Shares by Indian Companies under FCCB/ADR/GDR:
(i) Indian companies can raise foreign currency resources abroad through the issue of FCCB/DR (ADRs/GDRs), in accordance with the Scheme for issue of Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds and Ordinary Shares (Through Depository Receipt Mechanism) Scheme, 1993 and guidelines issued by the Government of India there under from time to time.
(ii) A company can issue ADRs / GDRs if it is eligible to issue shares to persons resident outside India under the FDI Policy. However, an Indian listed company, which is not eligible to raise funds from the Indian Capital Market including a company which has been restrained from accessing the securities market by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) will not be eligible to issue ADRs/GDRs.
(iii) Unlisted companies, which have not yet accessed the ADR/GDR route for raising capital in the international market, would require prior or simultaneous listing in the domestic market, while seeking to issue such overseas instruments. Unlisted companies, which have already issued ADRs/GDRs in the international market, have to list in the domestic market on making profit or within three years of such issue of ADRs/GDRs, whichever is earlier. ADRs / GDRs are issued on the basis of the ratio worked out by the Indian company in consultation with the Lead Manager to the issue. The proceeds so raised have to be kept abroad till actually required in India. Pending repatriation or utilization of the proceeds, the Indian company can invest the funds in:-
(a) Deposits, Certificate of Deposits or other instruments offered by banks rated by Standard and Poor, Fitch, IBCA ,Moody’s, etc. with rating not below the rating stipulated by Reserve Bank from time to time for the purpose;
(b) Deposits with branch/es of Indian Authorized Dealers outside India; and
(c) Treasury bills and other monetary instruments with a maturity or unexpired maturity of one year or less.
(iv) There are no end-use restrictions except for a ban on deployment / investment of such funds in real estate or the stock market. There is no monetary limit up to which an Indian company can raise ADRs / GDRs.
(v) The ADR / GDR proceeds can be utilized for first stage acquisition of shares in the disinvestment process of Public Sector Undertakings / Enterprises and also in the mandatory second stage offer to the public in view of their strategic importance.
(vi) Voting rights on shares issued under the Scheme shall be as per the provisions of Companies Act, 1956 and in a manner in which restrictions on voting rights imposed on ADR/GDR issues shall be consistent with the Company Law provisions. Voting rights in the case of banking companies will continue to be in terms of the provisions of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 and the instructions issued by the Reserve Bank from time to time, as applicable to all shareholders exercising voting rights.
(vii) Erstwhile OCBs who are not eligible to invest in India and entities prohibited from buying, selling or dealing in securities by SEBI will not be eligible to subscribe to ADRs/ GDRs issued by Indian companies.
(viii) The pricing of ADR / GDR issues should be made at a price determined under the provisions of the Scheme of issue of Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds and Ordinary Shares (through Depository Receipt Mechanism) Scheme, 1993 and guidelines issued by the Government of India and directions issued by the Reserve Bank, from time to time.
(ix) The pricing of sponsored ADRs/GDRs would be determined under the provisions of the Scheme of issue of Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds and Ordinary Shares (Through Depository Receipt Mechanism) Scheme, 1993 and guidelines issued by the Government of India and directions issued by the Reserve Bank, from time to time.
(b) Two-way Fungibility Scheme: A limited two-way Fungibility scheme has been put in place by the Government of India for ADRs / GDRs. Under this Scheme, a stock broker in India, registered with SEBI, can purchase shares of an Indian company from the market for conversion into ADRs/GDRs based on instructions received from overseas investors. Re-issuance of ADRs / GDRs would be permitted to the extent of ADRs / GDRs which have been redeemed into underlying shares and sold in the Indian market.
(c) Sponsored ADR/GDR issue: An Indian company can also sponsor an issue of ADR / GDR. Under this mechanism, the company offers its resident shareholders a choice to submit their shares back to the company so that on the basis of such shares, ADRs / GDRs can be issued abroad. The proceeds of the ADR / GDR issue are remitted back to India and distributed among the resident investors who had offered their Rupee denominated shares for conversion. These proceeds can be kept in Resident Foreign Currency (Domestic) accounts in India by the resident shareholders who have tendered such shares for conversion into ADRs / GDRs.
(5) Issue/Transfer Of Shares:
(a) Capital Instrument: The capital instruments should be issued within 180 days from the date of receipt of the inward remittance received through normal banking channels including escrow account opened and maintained for the purpose or by debit to the NRE/FCNR (B) account of the non-resident investor. In case, the capital instruments are not issued within 180 days from the date of receipt of the inward remittance or date of debit to the NRE/FCNR (B) account, the amount of consideration so received should be refunded immediately to the non-resident investor by outward remittance through normal banking channels or by credit to the NRE/FCNR (B) account, as the case may be. Non-compliance with the above provision would be reckoned as a contravention under FEMA and would attract penal provisions. In exceptional cases, refund of the amount of consideration outstanding beyond a period of 180 days from the date of receipt may be considered by the RBI, on the merits of the case.
(b) Issue Price of Shares: Price of shares issued to persons resident outside India under the FDI Policy, shall not be less than –
(i) the price worked out in accordance with the SEBI guidelines, as applicable, where the shares of the company is listed on any recognised stock exchange in India;
(ii) the fair valuation of shares done by a SEBI registered Category – I Merchant Banker or a Chartered Accountant as per the discounted free cash flow method, where the shares of the company is not listed on any recognised stock exchange in India ; and
(iii) the price as applicable to transfer of shares from resident to non-resident as per the pricing guidelines laid down by the Reserve Bank from time to time, where the issue of shares is on preferential allotment.
(c) Foreign Currency Account: Indian companies which are eligible to issue shares to persons resident outside India under the FDI Policy may be allowed to retain the share subscription amount in a Foreign Currency Account, with the prior approval of RBI.
(d) Transfer of Shares and Convertible Debentures:
(i) Subject to FDI sectoral policy (relating to sectoral caps and entry routes), applicable laws and other conditionalities including security conditions, non-resident investors can also invest in Indian companies by purchasing/acquiring existing shares from Indian shareholders or from other non-resident shareholders. General permission has been granted to non-residents/NRIs for acquisition of shares by way of transfer subject to the following:
(a) A person resident outside India (other than NRI and erstwhile OCB) may transfer by way of sale or gift, the shares or convertible debentures to any person resident outside India (including NRIs).
(b) NRIs may transfer by way of sale or gift the shares or convertible debentures held by them to another NRI.
(c) A person resident outside India can transfer any security to a person resident in India by way of gift.
(d) A person resident outside India can sell the shares and convertible debentures of an Indian company on a recognized Stock Exchange in India through a stock broker registered with stock exchange or a merchant banker registered with SEBI.
(e) A person resident in India can transfer by way of sale, shares/convertible debentures (including transfer of subscriber‘s shares), of an Indian company under private arrangement to a person resident outside India, subject to these guidelines.
(f) General permission is also available for transfer of shares/convertible debentures, by way of sale under private arrangement by a person resident outside India to a person resident in India, subject to these guidelines.
(g) The above General Permission also covers transfer by a resident to a non-resident of shares/convertible debentures of an Indian company, engaged in an activity earlier covered under the Government Route but now falling under Automatic Route, as well as transfer of shares by a non-resident to an Indian company under buyback and/or capital reduction scheme of the company.
(h) The Form FC-TRS should be submitted to the AD Category-I Bank, within 60 days from the date of receipt of the amount of consideration. The onus of submission of the Form FC-TRS within the given timeframe would be on the transferor/transferee, resident in India.
(ii) The sale consideration in respect of equity instruments purchased by a person resident outside India, remitted into India through normal banking channels, shall be subjected to a Know Your Customer (KYC) check by the remittance receiving AD Category-I bank at the time of receipt of funds. In case, the remittance receiving AD Category-I bank is different from the AD Category-I bank handling the transfer transaction, the KYC check should be carried out by the remittance receiving bank and the KYC report be submitted by the customer to the AD Category-I bank carrying out the transaction along with the Form FC-TRS.
(iii) Escrow: AD Category-I banks have been given general permission to open Escrow account and Special account of non-resident corporate for open offers / exit offers and delisting of shares. The relevant SEBI (SAST) Regulations or any other applicable SEBI Regulations/ provisions of the Companies Act, 1956 will be applicable. AD Category-I banks have also been permitted to open and maintain, without prior approval of RBI, non-interest bearing Escrow accounts in Indian Rupees in India on behalf of residents and/or non-residents, towards payment of share purchase consideration and/or provide Escrow facilities for keeping securities to facilitate FDI transactions subject to the terms and conditions specified by RBI. SEBI authorised Depository Participants have also been permitted to open and maintain, without prior approval of RBI, Escrow accounts for securities subject to the terms and conditions as specified by RBI. In both cases, the Escrow agent shall necessarily be an AD Category- I bank or SEBI authorised Depository Participant (in case of securities‘ accounts). These facilities will be applicable for both issue of fresh shares to the non- residents as well as transfer of shares from / to the non- residents.
(5) Prior Permission of RBI in certain cases for Transfer of Capital Instruments
Except cases mentioned in subsequent paragraph below, the following cases require prior approval of RBI:
(i) Transfer of capital instruments from resident to non-residents by way of sale where:
(a) Transfer is at a price which falls outside the pricing guidelines specified by the Reserve Bank from time to time and the transaction does not fall under the exception given in subsequent para.
(b) Transfer of capital instruments by the non-resident acquirer involving deferment of payment of the amount of consideration. Further, in case approval is granted for a transaction, the same should be reported in Form FC-TRS, to an AD Category-I bank for necessary due diligence, within 60 days from the date of receipt of the full and final amount of consideration.
(ii) Transfer of any capital instrument, by way of gift by a person resident in India to a person resident outside India. While forwarding applications to Reserve Bank for approval for transfer of capital instruments by way of gift, relevant documents should be enclosed. Reserve Bank considers the following factors while processing such applications:
(a) The proposed transferee (donee) is eligible to hold such capital instruments under Schedules 1, 4 and 5 of Notification No. FEMA 20/2000-RB dated May 3, 2000, as amended from time to time.
(b) The gift does not exceed 5 per cent of the paid-up capital of the Indian company/each series of debentures/each mutual fund scheme.
(c) The applicable sectoral cap limit in the Indian company is not breached.
(d) The transferor (donor) and the proposed transferee (donee) are close relatives as defined in Section 6 of the Companies Act, 1956, as amended from time to time.
(e) The value of capital instruments to be transferred together with any capital instruments already transferred by the transferor, as gift, to any person residing outside India does not exceed the rupee equivalent of USD 50,000 during the financial year.
(f) Such other conditions as stipulated by Reserve Bank in public interest from time to time.
(iii) Transfer of Shares from NRI to Non-Resident
In the following cases, approval of RBI is not required:
(a) Transfer of shares from a Non Resident to Resident under the FDI scheme where the pricing guidelines under FEMA, 1999 are not met provided that :-
(i) The original and resultant investment are in line with the extant FDI policy and FEMA regulations in terms of sectoral caps, conditionalities (such as minimum capitalization, etc.), reporting requirements, documentation, etc.;
(ii) The pricing for the transaction is compliant with the specific/explicit, extant and relevant SEBI regulations / guidelines (such as IPO, Book building, block deals, delisting, exit, open offer/ substantial acquisition / SEBI SAST, buy back); and
(iii) Chartered Accountants Certificate to the effect that compliance with the relevant SEBI regulations / guidelines as indicated above is attached to the form FC-TRS to be filed with the AD bank.
(b) Transfer of shares from Resident to Non Resident:
(i) Where the transfer of shares requires the prior approval of the FIPB as per the extant FDI policy provided that:
(a) The requisite approval of the FIPB has been obtained; and
(b) the transfer of share adheres with the pricing guidelines and documentation requirements as specified by the Reserve Bank of India from time to time.
(ii) where the transfer of shares attract SEBI (SAST) guidelines subject to the adherence with the pricing guidelines and documentation requirements as specified by Reserve Bank of India from time to time.
(iii) where the transfer of shares does not meet the pricing guidelines under the FEMA, 1999 provided that:-
(a) The resultant FDI is in compliance with the extant FDI policy and FEMA regulations in terms of sectoral caps, conditionalities (such as minimum capitalization, etc.), reporting requirements, documentation etc.;
(b) The pricing for the transaction is compliant with the specific/explicit, extant and relevant SEBI regulations / guidelines (such as IPO, Book building, block deals, delisting, exit, open offer/ substantial acquisition / SEBI SAST); and
(c) Chartered Accountants Certificate to the effect that compliance with the relevant SEBI regulations / guidelines as indicated above is attached to the form FC-TRS to be filed with the AD bank.
(iv) where the investee company is in the financial sector provided that :
(a) NOCs are obtained from the respective financial sector regulators/ regulators of the investee company as well as transferor and transferee entities and such NOCs are filed along with the form FC-TRS with the AD bank; and
(b). The FDI policy and FEMA regulations in terms of sectoral caps, conditionalities (such as minimum capitalization, pricing, etc.), reporting requirements, documentation etc., are complied with.
(iv) Conversion of ECB/Lumpsum Fee/Royalty etc. into Equity
(i) Indian companies have been granted general permission for conversion of External Commercial Borrowings (ECB) (excluding those deemed as ECB) in convertible foreign currency into equity shares/fully compulsorily and mandatorily convertible preference shares, subject to the following conditions and reporting requirements.
(a) The activity of the company is covered under the Automatic Route for FDI or the company has obtained Government approval for foreign equity in the company;
(b) The foreign equity after conversion of ECB into equity is within the sectoral cap, if any;
(c) Pricing of shares is as per the specified provision;
(d) Compliance with the requirements prescribed under any other statute and regulation in force; and
(e) The conversion facility is available for ECBs availed under the Automatic or Government Route and is applicable to ECBs, due for payment or not, as well as secured/unsecured loans availed from non-resident collaborators.
(ii) General permission is also available for issue of shares/preference shares against lump sum technical know-how fee, royalty, subject to entry route, sectoral cap and pricing guidelines and compliance with applicable tax laws.
(iii) Issue of equity shares under the FDI policy is allowed under the Government route for the following:
(v) Import of capital goods/ machinery/ equipment (excluding second-hand machinery), subject to compliance with the following conditions:
(a) Any import of capital goods/machinery etc., made by a resident in India, has to be in accordance with the Export/ Import Policy issued by Government of India/as defined by DGFT/FEMA provisions relating to imports.
(b) There is an independent valuation of the capital goods/machinery/equipments (including second-hand machinery) by a third party entity, preferably by an independent valuer from the country of import along with production of copies of documents/certificates issued by the customs authorities towards assessment of the fair-value of such imports.
(c) The application clearly indicating the beneficial ownership and identity of the Importer Company as well as overseas entity.
(d) Applications complete in all respects, for conversions of import payables for capital goods into FDI being made within 180 days from the date of shipment of goods.
(vi) Pre-operative/ pre-incorporation expenses (including payments of rent etc.), subject to compliance with the following conditions:
(a) Submission of FIRC for remittance of funds by the overseas promoters for the expenditure incurred.
(b) Verification and certification of the pre-incorporation/pre-operative expenses by the statutory auditor.
(c) Payments should be made by the foreign investor to the company directly or through the bank account opened by the foreign investor as provided under FEMA Regulations.
(d) The applications, complete in all respects, for capitalization being made within the period of 180 days from the date of incorporation of the company
(i) All requests for conversion should be accompanied by a special resolution of the company.
(ii) Government‘s approval would be subject to pricing guidelines of RBI and appropriate tax clearance.
(6) Specific Conditions In Certain Cases:
(a) Issue of Rights/Bonus Shares – FEMA provisions allow Indian companies to freely issue Rights/Bonus shares to existing non-resident shareholders, subject to adherence to sectoral cap, if any. However, such issue of bonus / rights shares has to be in accordance with other laws/statutes like the Companies Act, 1956, SEBI (Issue of Capital and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2009 (in case of listed companies), etc. The offer on right basis to the persons resident outside India shall be:
(a) in the case of shares of a company listed on a recognized stock exchange in India, at a price as determined by the company;
(b) in the case of shares of a company not listed on a recognized stock exchange in India, at a price which is not less than the price at which the offer on right basis is made to resident shareholders.
(b) Prior permission of RBI for Rights issue to erstwhile OCBs- OCBs have been de-recognised as a class of investors from September 16, 2003. Therefore companies desiring to issue rights share to such erstwhile OCBs will have to take specific prior permission from RBI. As such, entitlement of rights share is not automatically available to erstwhile OCBs. However bonus shares can be issued to erstwhile OCBs without the approval of RBI.
(c) Additional allocation of rights share by residents to non-residents – Existing non-resident shareholders are allowed to apply for issue of additional shares/ fully, compulsorily and mandatorily convertible debentures/ fully, compulsorily and mandatorily convertible preference shares over and above their rights share entitlements. The investee company can allot the additional rights share out of unsubscribed portion, subject to the condition that the overall issue of shares to non-residents in the total paid-up capital of the company does not exceed the sectoral cap.
(d) Acquisition of shares under Scheme of Merger/Demerger/Amalgamation – Mergers/demergers/ amalgamations of companies in India are usually governed by an order issued by a competent Court on the basis of the Scheme submitted by the companies undergoing merger/demerger/amalgamation. Once the scheme of merger or demerger or amalgamation of two or more Indian companies has been approved by a Court in India, the transferee company or new company is allowed to issue shares to the shareholders of the transferor company resident outside India, subject to the conditions that:
(i) the percentage of shareholding of persons resident outside India in the transferee or new company does not exceed the sectoral cap, and
(ii) the transferor company or the transferee or the new company is not engaged in activities which are prohibited under the FDI policy.
(e) Issue of shares under Employees Stock Option Scheme (ESOPs) –
(i) Listed Indian companies are allowed to issue shares under the Employees Stock Option Scheme (ESOPs), to its employees or employees of its joint venture or wholly owned subsidiary abroad, who are resident outside India, other than to the citizens of Pakistan. ESOPs can be issued to citizens of Bangladesh with the prior approval of FIPB. Shares under ESOPs can be issued directly or through a Trust subject to the condition that:
(a) The scheme has been drawn in terms of relevant regulations issued by the SEBI, and
(b) The face value of the shares to be allotted under the scheme to the non-resident employees does not exceed 5 per cent of the paid-up capital of the issuing company.
(ii) Unlisted companies have to follow the provisions of the Companies Act, 1956. The Indian company can issue ESOPs to employees who are resident outside India, other than to the citizens of Pakistan. ESOPs can be issued to the citizens of Bangladesh with the prior approval of the FIPB.
(iii)The issuing company is required to report (plain paper reporting) the details of granting of stock options under the scheme to non-resident employees to the Regional Office concerned of the Reserve Bank and thereafter the details of issue of shares subsequent to the exercise of such stock options within 30 days from the date of issue of shares in Form FC-GPR.
(f) Share Swap: In cases of investment by way of swap of shares, irrespective of the amount, valuation of the shares will have to be made by a Category I Merchant Banker registered with SEBI or an Investment Banker outside India registered with the appropriate regulatory authority in the host country. Approval of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) will also be a prerequisite for investment by swap of shares.
3.5.7 Pledge of Shares:
(a) A person being a promoter of a company registered in India (borrowing company), which has raised external commercial borrowings, may pledge the shares of the borrowing company or that of its associate resident companies for the purpose of securing the ECB raised by the borrowing company, provided that a no objection for the same is obtained from a bank which is an authorised dealer. The authorized dealer, shall issue the no objection for such a pledge after having satisfied itself that the external commercial borrowing is in line with the extant FEMA regulations for ECBs and that:
(i). the loan agreement has been signed by both the lender and the borrower,
(ii) there exists a security clause in the Loan Agreement requiring the borrower to create charge on financial securities, and
(iii) the borrower has obtained Loan Registration Number (LRN) from the Reserve Bank: and the said pledge would be subject to the following conditions :
(a). the period of such pledge shall be co-terminus with the maturity of the underlying ECB;
(b). in case of invocation of pledge, transfer shall be in accordance with the extant FDI Policy and directions issued by the Reserve Bank;
(c). the Statutory Auditor has certified that the borrowing company will utilized / has utilized the proceeds of the ECB for the permitted end use/s only.
(b) Non-resident holding shares of an Indian company, can pledge these shares in favour of the AD bank in India to secure credit facilities being extended to the resident investee company for bonafide business purpose, subject to the following conditions:
(i) in case of invocation of pledge, transfer of shares should be in accordance with the FDI policy in vogue at the time of creation of pledge;
(ii) submission of a declaration/ annual certificate from the statutory auditor of the investee company that the loan proceeds will be / have been utilized for the declared purpose;
(iii) the Indian company has to follow the relevant SEBI disclosure norms; and
(iv) pledge of shares in favour of the lender (bank) would be subject to Section 19 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.
(c) Non-resident holding shares of an Indian company, can pledge these shares in favour of an overseas bank to secure the credit facilities being extended to the non-resident investor / non-resident promoter of the Indian company or its overseas group company, subject to the following:
(i) loan is availed of only from an overseas bank;
(ii) loan is utilized for genuine business purposes overseas and not for any investments either directly or indirectly in India;
(iii)overseas investment should not result in any capital inflow into India;
(iv) in case of invocation of pledge, transfer should be in accordance with the FDI policy in vogue at the time of creation of pledge; and
(v) submission of a declaration/ annual certificate from a Chartered Accountant/ Certified Public Accountant of the non-resident borrower that the loan proceeds will be / have been utilized for the declared purpose.
(7) Entry Routes For Investment:
(a) Investments can be made by non-residents in the equity shares/fully, compulsorily and mandatorily convertible debentures/ fully, compulsorily and mandatorily convertible preference shares of an Indian company, through the Automatic Route or the Government Route. Under the Automatic Route, the non-resident investor or the Indian company does not require any approval from Government of India for the investment. Under the Government Route, prior approval of the Government of India is required. Proposals for foreign investment under Government route, are considered by FIPB.
(b) Guidelines for establishment of Indian companies/ transfer of ownership or control of Indian companies, from resident Indian citizens to non-resident entities, in sectors with caps:
In sectors/activities with caps, including inter-alia defence production, air transport services, ground handling services, asset reconstruction companies, private sector banking, broadcasting, commodity exchanges, credit information companies, insurance, print media, telecommunications and satellites, Government approval/FIPB approval would be required in all cases where:
(i) An Indian company is being established with foreign investment and is owned by a non-resident entity or
(ii) An Indian company is being established with foreign investment and is controlled by a non-resident entity or
(iii) The control of an existing Indian company, currently owned or controlled by resident Indian citizens and Indian companies, which are owned or controlled by resident Indian citizens, will be/is being transferred/passed on to a non-resident entity as a consequence of transfer of shares and/or fresh issue of shares to non-resident entities through amalgamation, merger/demerger, acquisition etc. or
(iv) The ownership of an existing Indian company, currently owned or controlled by resident Indian citizens and Indian companies, which are owned or controlled by resident Indian citizens, will be/is being transferred/passed on to a non-resident entity as a consequence of transfer of shares and/or fresh issue of shares to non-resident entities through amalgamation, merger/demerger, acquisition etc.
(v) It is clarified that these guidelines will not apply to sectors/activities where there are no foreign investment caps, that is, 100% foreign investment is permitted under the automatic route.
(vi) It is also clarified that Foreign investment shall include all types of foreign investments i.e. FDI, investment by FIIs, NRIs, ADRs, GDRs, Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds (FCCB) and fully, mandatorily & compulsorily convertible preference shares/debentures, regardless of whether the said investments have been made under Schedule 1, 2, 3 and 6 of FEMA (Transfer or Issue of Security by Persons Resident Outside India) Regulations.
(8) Caps On Investment: Investments can be made by non-residents in the capital of a resident entity only to the extent of the percentage of the total capital as specified in the FDI policy. The caps in various sector(s) are detailed in this circular.
(9) Entry Conditions On Investment: Investments by non-residents can be permitted in the capital of a resident entity in certain sectors/activity with entry conditions. Such conditions may include norms for minimum capitalization, lock-in period, etc. The entry conditions in various sectors/activities are detailed in this circular.
(10) Other Conditions On Investment Besides Entry Conditions: The entry conditions on foreign investment, the investment/investors are required to comply with all relevant sectoral laws, regulations, rules, security conditions, and state/ local laws/ regulations.
(11) Foreign Investment Into/Downstream Investment By Indian Companies:
(a) The Guidelines for calculation of total foreign investment, both direct and indirect in an Indian company, at every stage of investment, including downstream investment, have been detailed in this circular.
(b) For the purpose of this chapter downstream investment means indirect foreign investment, by one Indian company, into another Indian company, by way of subscription or acquisition, in terms of this circular. The circular provides the guidelines for calculation of indirect foreign investment, with conditions specified therein.
(c) Foreign investment into an Indian company engaged only in the activity of investing in the capital of other Indian company/ies (regardless of its ownership or control):
(i) Foreign investment into an Indian company, engaged only in the activity of investing in the capital of other Indian company/ies, will require prior Government/FIPB approval, regardless of the amount or extent of foreign investment. Foreign investment into Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs), carrying on activities approved for FDI, will be subject to the conditions specified in paragraph 6.2.24 of this Circular.
(ii) Those companies, which are Core Investment Companies (CICs), will have to additionally follow RBI‘s Regulatory Framework for CICs.
(iii) For infusion of foreign investment into an Indian company which does not have any operations and also does not have any downstream investments, Government/FIPB approval would be required, regardless of the amount or extent of foreign investment. Further, as and when such a company commences business(s) or makes downstream investment, it will have to comply with the relevant sectoral conditions on entry route, conditionalities and caps.
Note: Foreign investment into other Indian companies would be in accordance/ compliance with the relevant sectoral conditions on entry route, conditionalities and caps.
(d) Downstream investment by an Indian company which is owned and/or controlled by non resident entity/ies:
(i) Downstream investment by an Indian company, which is owned and/ or controlled by non-resident entity/ies, into another Indian company, would be in accordance/compliance with the relevant sectoral conditions on entry route, conditionalities and caps, with regard to the sectors in which the latter Indian company is operating.
(ii) Downstream investments by Indian companies will be subject to the following conditions:
(a) Such a company is to notify SIA, DIPP and FIPB of its downstream investment in the form available at http://www.fipbindia.com within 30 days of such investment, even if capital instruments have not been allotted along with the modality of investment in new/existing ventures (with/without expansion programme);
(b) downstream investment by way of induction of foreign equity in an existing Indian Company to be duly supported by a resolution of the Board of Directors as also a shareholders Agreement, if any;
(c) issue/transfer/pricing/valuation of shares shall be in accordance with applicable SEBI/RBI guidelines;
(d) For the purpose of downstream investment, the Indian companies making the downstream investments would have to bring in requisite funds from abroad and not leverage funds from the domestic market. This would, however, not preclude downstream companies, with operations, from raising debt in the domestic market. Downstream investments through internal accruals are permissible, subject to the provisions of this circular.