Continuing its slew of exemptions, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has exempted all public sector oil and gas companies (created under the Petroleum Act 1934) from pre-merger scrutiny by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) under Sections 5 and 6 of the Competition Act 2002. The exemption – which will be valid for five years from the date of the official Gazette notification (ie, until November 22 2022) – also extends to all wholly or partly owned subsidiaries of such companies.

The notification is in line with the government's policy on consolidation and stake purchases among state-owned oil and gas companies, and was issued in the context of the contemplated merger of two major public sector energy companies:

  • Hindustan Petroleum Corporation; and
  • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited.

The ministry previously exempted:

  • a banking company – for which the government issued notification under Section 45 of the Banking Regulation Act 1945;
  • regional rural banks – for which the government issued notification under Section 23A(1) of the Regional Rural Banks Act 1976 (for further details please see "Regional rural bank mergers exempt from control provisions"); and
  • all cases of reconstitution, transfer (wholly or in part) and amalgamation of nationalised banks under the Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Act 1970 and 1980 (for further details please see "Nationalised banks exempt from CCI merger approval").

For further information on this topic please contact MM Sharma at Vaish Associates by telephone (+91 11 4249 2525) or email (mmsharma@vaishlaw.com). The Vaish Associates website can be accessed at www.vaishlaw.com.

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