RBI concerns to be addressed before CCI's merger notification

New Delhi: The government today said it will take on board the concerns of the finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) before giving powers to competition watchdog Competition Commission of India (CCI) for vetting mergers of banks, reports PTI.

The RBI has been seeking exemption of bank mergers from the purview of the proposed sections of the Competition Act, which would require all acquisitions that could have a bearing on competition in the market, to seek its go-ahead.

"It is in the process, there is no intention to delay but these are government procedures that have to be followed.

The finance ministry and the RBI have to be taken on board, as they have some issues which will be considered," corporate affairs minister Salman Khurshid told PTI on the sidelines of 'Competition Law Conference 2010' here.

Mr Khurshid's comments comes amid talks that notification of sections 5 and 6 of the Competition Act may take a while, as it is facing opposition from the finance ministry and the RBI on certain issues. The two sectors empower the CCI to look into big market-impacting mergers and acquisitions (M&As).

However, voices within the commission have expressed concern that exempting one sector would lead to similar demand from other sectors.

The provisions, Mr Khurshid said, are being looked into by the Committee of Secretaries.

"Its gone to the Committee of Secretaries. Once they give it, their comments and recommendations, we will take it up with the Cabinet," he said.

Although the Competition Commission of India became fully functional in May last year, certain sections of the Act still stand to be notified.

The Commission, at present, holds the power to check abuse of dominant position and anti-competitive agreements between companies.

The minister had said earlier that amended Competition Act 2002, along with the provisions, would be placed before the Parliament in the monsoon session, which did not materialise leading to reports that an ordinance could be brought in.

"Let's first see what the issues are. Ordinance becomes necessary when there is an urgency, so we can look at it. We can look at every aspect. But there is no reluctance in the matter of time its only procedural delay," Mr Khurshid said.

In the amended draft, sources said, the ministry has reduced the time for vetting M&A proposals to just 180 days from the 210 days specified earlier.

Also, companies with a turnover of Rs750 crore and above and assets worth more than Rs250 crore would need to come before the CCI.


Govt keeps anchor investor options open for PSU public offers

Kolkata: The proposal for anchor investors is being kept open by the government for the forthcoming public offer by public sector undertakings (PSUs), though it was dropped in the case of the mega initial public offer (IPO) of Coal India Ltd (CIL), reports PTI.

"We are not dropping the anchor investor plan for the forthcoming public offers. We will take a decision depending on the situation," divestment secretary Sumit Bose told PTI.

Asked about the reason for dropping the anchor investor plan for the country largest initial public offer, CIL, Mr Bose said, "it was done after we found extremely positive response from both foreign and domestic institutional investors and the need was not felt."

Sources in the government had earlier said that the plan for anchor investor was dropped due to lack of transparency in the allotment process.

The government has lined up public offers in Power Grid Corporation, Shipping Corporation, Manganese Ore India, Hind Copper, SAIL, Indian Oil and ONGC.

It aims to garner Rs40,000 crore from these divestments during the current fiscal.


Aegis to buy Y&R Inversiones Publicitárias’ stake in Actionline

Global outsourcing services company Aegis, said it will acquire remaining shares of its joint venture business process outsourcing (BPO) Actionline in Argentina. No financial details were provided.

Aegis said it signed an agreement with Y&R Inversiones Publicitárias S.A. and its business partner to buy their stake in Actionline. 

Actionline is one of the largest BPOs in Argentina spread across seven centres in five cities. It is domestic market serves telecom, banking, insurance, and energy clients in the region. With this agreement, Aegis aims to expand its reach Latin America, said the company in a statement.

Actionline's ongoing operations in Chile and Brazil are not impacted by this transaction.  Actionline marks the 16th acquisition for Aegis over the last five years.


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