Monday, December 10, 2007

400 PE, M&A deals under CBDT scanner

The spill-over effect of Vodafone’s battle with Indian tax authorities may prove costly for several other deal makers. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has reopened about 400 cases of big and mid-sized transactions that took place during the past six to seven years.

According to sources close to the development, the cases include foreign corporates and PE firms selling stakes of companies based in India, and not paying any capital gains tax. One of the first such cases that the tax department is currently probing is Montreal-based Alcan Inc’s selling of the controlling stake in Indian Aluminium Company (Indal) to Hindalco Industries seven years ago, sources in the finance ministry told SundayET.

Significantly, there were around 300 PE deals clocked in India in 2006 alone. The tax department had earlier slapped a notice on Vodafone Essar, demanding $2 billion as capital gains tax over its $1-billion acquisition of a majority stake in Hutchison Essar, India’s fourth largest mobile telephone company. The case is now locked in the Bombay High Court.

Source: Economic Times

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