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Any form of investment in India from any foreign company is considered as foreign investment. The entity has to either be a company or a Non- Resident Indian. Apart from this, foreign investment can be from a person who is resident outside India. Foreign investment (FI) must be in the form of any subscription in the capital structure of the company. When a foreign company subscribes in the capital instruments of the company, the company has to provide capital instruments such as equity shares, debentures, preference shares or some form of convertible notes. This article is going to analyse how foreign investment in India works.
Different countries have various patterns of receiving FI. In India, FI is received through routes. The Government has specifically made these routes of India in consultation with the RBI.
The following are the routes for foreign investment in India:
Capital Instruments are specific instruments such as shares and securities, which are freely transferable from one person to another. Capital instruments can also be transferred between companies. The government has permitted foreign companies and entities to invest in capital instruments of companies.
Foreign investment is allowed through capital instruments which are issued through Indian Companies. The type of capital instruments which can be issued by Indian Companies include:
Apart from this, any form of preference shares which are considered optionally convertible or partially convertible and if these shares have been issued up to 30 April 2007, then the same will be allowed to be compliant with the rules of FI.
Foreign exchange laws were present in India since the 1960s. The government of India first brought out the foreign exchange regulation act, 1973 (FERA). There were many restrictions for foreign investment in the country as a result of the FERA. Hence the government brought out economic liberalisation in 1991, opening the doors to different forms of FI. Along with this, the government of India and RBI brought out the FEMA regulation. The Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 was different from the FERA.
Under the FEMA, foreign investment in India was promoted rather than restricted. With the introduction of FEMA, the government brought out laws and regulations for NBFCs, Foreign Direct Investment, and Foreign Portfolio Investment. Even for the transfer of security to an individual outside India, there is a regulation. This regulation is the Foreign Exchange Management (Transfer or Issue of Security to a Person outside India) Regulations, 2017.
The primary regulatory authority for foreign exchange transactions in India is the RBI. Under section 11 of the FEMA, the Reserve Bank of India has authorised specific banks to deal with foreign exchange transactions. These banks are known as authorised banks. If FI transaction has to occur, then prior approval of the authorised bank, as well as the RBI, is required.
Foreign Investment- Foreign invest is understood as a form of investment by a foreign entity either in the capital instruments of the Indian company. This investment can be either made by a foreign company or a person who is resident outside India. Such an investment can be made by an NRI also. Such an investment would be usually made on a repatriable basis. The meaning of repatriable includes when the investment can be sent back to the home country of the foreign investor. When an investment is repatriable, usually it is not subjected to any form of tax.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) – Foreign Direct Investment more commonly known as FDI is a form of direct investment which is made by a person resident outside India or a foreign company in the capital instruments of an Indian company. This investment is made through the purchase or acquisition of capital instruments of the Indian company.
Foreign direct investment is made through the following for FDI:
Foreign Portfolio Investment- A portfolio can be understood as a composition of a different form of securities having values. Hence foreign portfolio investment is a type of foreign investment from foreign investors in the portfolio. Foreign portfolio investment must be differentiated from FI and foreign direct investment.
To be applicable for investing in foreign portfolio investment, the following conditions have to be satisfied:
One main differentiation between foreign direct investment and foreign portfolio investment is the amount of investment that is made by the foreign company in the Indian company. If the percentage of investment is more than 10% on the paid-up value of the capital which is held by the company, then such form of investment is understood as Foreign Direct Investment. If the investment is less than 10% on the paid-up capital of the company or the equity shares of the company, then such form of investment is understood as foreign portfolio investment or FPI.
Another main difference between FDI and FPI is the company in which the investment is made. For example, if the investment is made in an unlisted company and if such investment adds up to more than 10%, then it would be a foreign direct investment. Whereas, a portfolio would comprise of a different form of securities which are issued by the company.
For issuing securities to the public, the company has to be registered with a stock exchange. Hence, foreign portfolio investment would only comprise listed companies which can raise investment from a foreign company.
Valuation of instruments means assessing the fair market value of a particular instrument based on internationally accepted standards. For example, securities which are freely transferable between companies can be independently valued. Similarly, valuation occurs when securities are transferred from an Indian company to a resident outside India.
A valuation can also occur when there is a buyback of securities or redemption of preference shares by the company. Valuation has to be carried out by the company following certain international standards of valuation.
Both listed companies, as well as unlisted companies, can value their shares and capital instruments.
The following would be applicable to valuation for securities which are issued by an Indian company to a non-resident Indian or a person resident outside India:
For an unlisted company, the following principles and guidelines of valuation would be applicable to the securities or capital instruments:
Valuation principles for the transfer of shares from a resident outside India to an Indian company
Hence the principles of valuation would include that instruments for FI must be valuation carried out as per the standards which are accepted by SEBI for Listed companies. When it comes to valuing instruments for unlisted companies then the international standards such as the arms length methods for valuation must be considered.
Read our article:A Complete Overview of Foreign Direct Investment Compliance under FEMA