Govt could take six months to notify CCI's norms for M&A

“At present, the CCI does not have enough staff and expertise to handle mergers and acquisition issues. It is only when the hiring process is complete, the government will notify the provisions ... and that may take six months or more,” a senior Corporate Affairs Ministry official said.

Although the government has operationalised several provisions of the Competition Act, it has yet notify Sections 5 and 6 which mandate companies beyond a certain turnover threshold to seek the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI’s) go ahead.
The government is holding consultations with the industry and other stakeholders on sections relating to mergers and acquisitions, the official said, adding “these are crucial provisions and need extensive deliberations.”

After notification of the sections 5 and 6 of the Act, all mergers which would increase the combined assets of the merging entities to more than Rs 1,000 crore or raise the turnover to Rs 3,000 crore, would require the CCI’s approval.

In May this year, the government had 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. Meanwhile, the government is expected to shortly notify the services rules for CCI, following which the competition watchdog can invite applications to fill up various posts.

Sources in the commission had earlier said it would hire about 180 personnel for various posts, including that of an advisor.

The CCI, currently, has a strength of 45 professionals with several persons on deputation from various government departments for one year only, sources had said. The Commission has become fully functional early this year with the appointment of Chairman Dhanendra Kumar and other members and is authorised to entertain cases pertaining to abuse of dominance and formation of cartels. It draws its powers from the Competition Act, passed by Parliament in 2002.

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