Just recently, the largest ever FDI transaction in India was announced, with the Russian government owned Rosneft and its partners acquiring Essar Oil for 13 billion USD. This is indeed a watershed moment for India and a re-validation of global faith in the potential and attractiveness of its economy. With FDI inflows into India already hitting a high in the last fiscal year, this marquee transaction will only provide a fillip to India’s already burgeoning M&A landscape.
There has been a spate of high-profile transactions in India in the last few years, whether domestic or international, and both inbound and outbound. With the government continually working towards reforms on all fronts, be it in its regulatory policies to attract foreign investors, providing an impetus to the manufacturing sector with Make in India, improving India’s Ease of Doing Business rankings, or providing solace to the much beleaguered infrastructure sector by paving the path for real estate investment trusts (REITs)/infrastructure investment trusts (InvITs), there is no looking back.
Ever since the Vodafone tax litigation took the Indian M&A landscape by storm in 2007, tax aspects surrounding any M&As in India came to the forefront—so much so that corporate have now started taking tax insurance to insulate themselves from the uncertainties and vagaries of interpretation of Indian tax laws. Of course, while the government is making strides in trying to deliver the comfort of certainty to the investor
community (such as by issuing clarifications on various aspects of indirect transfers), it is also tightening the screws on various fronts—the renegotiation of India’s tax treaties, the looming advent of General Anti- Avoidance Rules (GAAR) in 2017 and the adoption of Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) action plans.
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