What Is Amalgamation?

An amalgamation is a combination of two or more companies into a new entity. Amalgamation is distinct from a merger because neither company involved survives as a legal entity. Instead, a completely new entity is formed to house the combined assets and liabilities of both companies.

The term amalgamation has generally fallen out of popular use in countries like the United States, being replaced with the terms merger or consolidation. But it is still commonly used in countries like India.

[Important: In accounting, amalgamations may also be referred to as consolidations.]

Understanding Amalgamations

Amalgamation typically happens between two or more companies engaged in the same line of business or those that share some similarity in operations. Companies may combine to diversify their activities or to expand their range of services.

Since two or more companies are merging together, an amalgamation results in the formation of a larger entity. The transferor company—the weaker company—is absorbed into the stronger transferee company, thus forming an entirely different company. This leads to a much stronger and larger customer base, and also means the newly formed entity has more assets.

Amalgamations generally take place between larger and smaller entities, where the larger one takes over smaller firms.

Types of Amalgamation

One type of amalgamation—similar to a merger—pools both companies’ assets and liabilities, and the shareholders’ interests together. All assets of the transferor company become that of the transferee company. The business of the transferor company is carried on after the amalgamation. No adjustments are made to book values. Shareholders of the transferor company holding a minimum of 90% face value of equity shares become shareholders of the transferee company.

The second type of amalgamation is similar to a purchase. One company is acquired by another, and shareholders of the transferor company do not have a proportionate share in the equity of the combined company. If the purchase consideration exceeds the net asset value (NAV), the excess amount is recorded as goodwill. If not, it is recorded as capital reserves.

Key Takeaways

  • Amalgamation is the combination of two or more companies into a new entity by combining the assets and liabilities of both entities into one.
  • The transferor company is absorbed into the stronger, transferee company, leading to an entity with a stronger customer base and more assets.
  • Amalgamation can help increase cash resources, eliminate competition, and save companies on taxes. But it can lead to a monopoly if too much competition is cut out, scale down the workforce, and increase the new entity's debt load.

The Pros and Cons of Amalgamation

Amalgamation is a way to acquire cash resources, eliminate competition, save on taxes, or influencing the economies of large-scale operations. Amalgamation may also increase shareholder value, reduce risk by diversification, improve managerial effectiveness, and help achieve company growth and financial gain.

On the other hand, amalgamation if too much competition is cut out, it may lead to a monopoly, which can be troublesome for consumers and the marketplace. It may also lead to the reduction of the new company's workforce as some jobs are duplicated and, therefore, make some employees obsolete. It also increases debt: by merging the two companies together, the new entity assumes the liabilities of both.

Amalgamation Procedure

The terms of amalgamation are finalized by the board of directors of each company. The plan is prepared and submitted for approval. For instance, the High Court and Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) will approve the shareholders of the new company when a plan is submitted.

The new company officially becomes an entity and issues shares to shareholders of the transferor company. The transferor company is liquidated, and all assets and liabilities are taken over by the transferee company.

Example of Amalgamation

In November 2015, drug firm Natco Pharma received shareholders approval for the amalgamation of its subsidiary Natco Organics into the company.

Consolidated results of postal ballots and e-voting showed the resolution passed with 99.94% of votes in favor with 0.02% opposed and 0.04% invalid.