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The inter corporate loan and investment by Company is regulated by the provision of section 186 of the Companies Act , 2013. As per section 186(1), a company cannot make investments through more than two layers of investment companies. Exception to this provision is given to
a) a company from acquiring any other company incorporated in a country outside India if such other company has investment subsidiaries beyond two layers as per the laws of such country;;
b) a subsidiary company from having any investment subsidiary for the purposes of meeting the requirements under any law or under any rule or regulation framed under any law for the time being in force..
Section 186(2) provides that Company shall not give Loan, Guarantee, acquire through subscription of securities or provide security exceeding:
1. 60% of its paid up share capital + free reserve or
2. 100% of its free reserve + securities premium account, whichever is more,
Wherein such limits are breached the company as per section 186(3) needs to get prior approval from the shareholders by means of special resolution.
To give relief to companies making such investment in subsidiaries, rule 11 of the Companies (Meeting of Board and its powers) Rules, 2014 provides that where a loan or guarantee is given or where security has been provided by a company to its wholly owned subsidiary company or a joint venture company, or acquisition is made by a holding company of the securities of its wholly owned subsidiary company, the requirement concerning special resolution at the general meeting will not apply.
According to 186(7), rate of interest of such investment/loan shall not be less than the prevailing bank rate. This can be challenge to subsidiary companies which have not started any operations / making loss and are completely dependent on the holding company for survival.
Nothing contained in section 186, except sub-section (1), shall apply—

(a) to a loan made, guarantee given or security provided by a banking company or an insurance company or a housing finance company in the ordinary course of its business or a company engaged in the business of financing of companies or of providing infrastructural facilities;
(b) to any acquisition—
(i) made by a non-banking financial company registered under Chapter IIIB of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 and whose principal business is acquisition of securities:
Provided that exemption to non-banking financial company shall be in respect of its investment and lending activities;
(ii) made by a company whose principal business is the acquisition of securities;
(iii) of shares allotted in pursuance of clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 62.
Section 186, needs to be read with section 185, which states that no company shall, directly or indirectly, advance any loan, including any loan represented by a book debt, to any of its directors or to any other person in whom the director is interested or give any guarantee or provide any security in connection with any loan taken by him or such other person. Here “to any other person in whom director is interested” means—
(a) any director of the lending company, or of a company which is its holding company or any partner or relative of any such director;
(b) any firm in which any such director or relative is a partner;
(c) any private company of which any such director is a director or member;
(d) any body corporate at a general meeting of which not less than 25% of the total voting power may be exercised or controlled by any such director, or by two or more such directors, together; or

(e) any body corporate, the Board of directors, managing director or manager, whereof is accustomed to act in accordance with the directions or instructions of the Board, or of any director or directors, of the lending company.
The above provisions imposes restriction on private companies having common directors across the group. Although some relief is given under the private company exemption notification dated 05.06.2015 which states that, Section 185 shall not apply to a private company-
(a) in whose share capital no other body corporate has invested any money;
(b) if the borrowings of such a company from banks or financial institutions or any body corporate is less than twice of its paid up share capital or fifty crore rupees, whichever is lower; and
(c) such a company has no default in repayment of such borrowings subsisting at the time of making transactions under this section.

Following procedures has to be adopted by the company while giving loan to any other body corporate, providing guarantee or security in connection with a loan or acquisition by way of subscription, purchase the securities of any other body corporate:
1. Company can give any loan or give any guarantee or provide security and acquire securities of any Body corporate through Board resolution up to 60% of its paid up capital, free reserves and security premium account or 100% of its free reserves and security premium whichever is more.
2. On the basis of aforesaid conditions and requirements of the company meeting of Board of Directors is to be convened after giving proper and the appropriate resolution needs to be passed in the meeting.
3. It is to be checked whether there is any existing loan from any public financial institution, If so, prior approval of that public financial institution is also required for any subsequent loan from any other source. However, prior approval of Public Financial Institution shall not be required where the aggregate loan, investment, guarantee and security proposed is within the limits as specified under section 186(2) and there is no default in repayment of loan or interest thereon to the Public Financials Institution.
4. Arrange to convene a general meeting of shareholders after giving proper notice and to pass special resolution therein, where the giving of any loan or guarantee or providing any security or the acquisition exceeds the limits specified i.e 60% of its paid up capital, free reserves and security premium account or 100% of its reserves and security premium whichever is more
5. File the copy of special resolution in Form No. MGT-14 along with the fee as provided in Companies (Registration of offices and fees) Rules, 2014 with the Registrar within 30 days of passing the resolution. Necessary documents are required to be attached as per the requirements of the form.
6. Rate of interest applicable to such loan extended cannot be less than the prevailing yield of one year, three year, five year or ten year Government Security closest to the tenor of the loan.
8. Registers are to be maintained in Form MBP-2 by every company giving loan or giving guarantee or providing security or making an acquisition shall, from the date of its registration and the particulars of loan and guarantee given, securities provided and acquisition are to be entered therein.
9. The company shall also disclose to the members in the financial statement the full particulars of the loans given, investment made or guarantee given or security provided and the purpose for which the loan or guarantee or security is proposed to be utilised by the recipient of the loan or guarantee or security.

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