Navigating Global Expansion: Legal Framework for Flipping Corporate Structures

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Navigating Global Expansion: Legal Framework for Flipping Corporate Structures

January 23, 2024

In the dynamic landscape of global business, the growth of companies often leads founders to contemplate flipping their structures, establishing holding companies outside India for easier access to global investors and overseas listings. This strategic move involves various considerations, necessitating a comprehensive understanding of legal frameworks and potential implications. This article explores key facets surrounding the flipping of structures.

A. Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999:

Under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999, flipping structures demands a meticulous analysis of round-tripping issues. While not explicitly defined, restrictions on overseas direct investment inherently address round-tripping concerns for Indian residents. Any transfer or swap of shares requires adherence to fair valuation norms, with reporting obligations to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Notably, RBI permits the establishment of Indian subsidiaries through offshore companies, subject to certain conditions.

B. Income Tax Implications:

Restructuring involving share transfers or swaps may trigger income tax liability under capital gains, contingent on specific conditions. Considering the General Anti-Avoidance Rules, the commercial substance test becomes crucial in structuring flips. Place of Effective Management (POEM) is an equally vital consideration, ensuring tax implications align with the company’s restructuring strategy.

C. Intellectual Property (IPs):

Founders sometimes opt to transfer Intellectual Properties (IPs) to overseas entities for protection, control, and valuation advantages. FEMA permits such transfers with conditions, including the requirement to transfer IPs at fair market value. Transfer pricing regulations must be factored in, ensuring compliance while structuring the flip.

D. Companies Act Considerations:

Valuation under the Companies Act, 2013, is a pivotal aspect when implementing a flip. Corporate actions such as board and shareholder approvals are integral to the to-do list during the implementation phase, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.

E. Conclusion:

Flipping structures is not a one-size-fits-all approach; its suitability depends on the unique needs of each company. While the benefits of global expansion may outweigh complexities and costs, a thorough review is imperative, aligning the flip with the company’s objectives and growth strategies.

In essence, navigating the legal landscape of flipping structures demands a strategic approach, considering the nuances of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, Income Tax implications, Intellectual Property considerations, and Companies Act requirements. As companies venture into the global arena, a well-informed and compliant approach is key to unlocking the full potential of a flipped structure.

Author: Prashant Kumar Jain, Managing Partner

Disclaimer: The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and that the same shall not be treated as legal advice. For any queries, the author can be reached at

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