Government says it is ready with CCI norms for M&As

Although the government has operationalised several provisions of the Competition Act, it is yet to notify Sections 5 and 6, which mandate companies to seek the CCI's go-ahead

The Indian government on Monday said that it is ready with the regulations to give teeth to the competition watchdog Competition Commission of India (CCI) for examining mergers and acquisitions (M&As) and would notify it once the Commission develops expertise in tackling such cases.

"A lot of capacity-building is still required (in the CCI). If we notify it (merger norms) today, you know we are not ready because after we notify it a lot of people will come, it will become a very major problem. We must be ready in terms of capacity—staff, expertise and other areas," corporate affairs minister Salman Khurshid told PTI.

Although the government has operationalised several provisions of the Competition Act, it is yet to notify Sections 5 and 6, which mandate companies to seek the CCI's go-ahead.

The ministry of corporate affairs has held extensive deliberations with industry and other stakeholders on the sections relating to takeovers and issues like the time period for vetting M&As.

Mr Khurshid said that all the issues raised by the industry have been addressed and now it was time to strengthen the CCI.

"I think every issue that industry has raised, we have addressed them satisfactorily. They have turned back with a reasonable look of satisfaction," he said.

After notification of the sections, all mergers which would increase the combined assets of the merging entities to more than Rs1,000 crore or raise the turnover to Rs3,000 crore, would require the CCI's approval.

Sources had earlier said that the CCI would hire about 180 personnel for various posts, including that of an adviser.

The CCI, currently employs about 50 professionals with several persons on deputation from various government departments for one year only.

In May last year, the government notified Sections 3 and 4 of the CCI Act, empowering the Commission to take up cases pertaining to anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominance.

The Commission has become fully functional early this year with the appointment of chairman Dhanendra Kumar and other members. It draws its powers from the Competition Act, passed by Parliament in 2002.
 

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