Stock Exchange Process

On February 1, 2012, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (“SEBI”) had introduced the mechanism for offer for sale through the stock exchange (the “Stock Exchange OFS”) with the intention of facilitating offloading by promoters and promoter group members in listed companies. It was expected to bring in transparency in secondary transactions as well as draw wider participation. The introduction of the Stock Exchange OFS was also a recognition of limitations of then existing methods for achieving minimum public shareholding (the “MPS”), i.e. taking the public issue route, which was both time consuming and cumbersome.

Continue Reading Offer for sale through the stock exchange process – whether recent changes will revitalise the process?

Gatekeepers of Governance

Context

In an earlier article under the ‘Gatekeepers of Governance’ series, the authors had discussed how the regulatory architecture under the Companies Act, 2013 (“Act”), and the SEBI (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015 (“LODR”), places ‘independent directors’ (“IDs”) at the forefront of India’s quest for better corporate governance. However, it is often forgotten that along with IDs, even non-executive non-independent directors (“NENIDs”) on the Board can play a pivotal role in acting as a ‘watchdog’, and safeguarding stakeholder interest.

Continue Reading Gatekeepers of Governance: Non-Executive Non-Independent Directors

Nomination and Remuneration Committee

Background

The regulatory architecture under the Companies Act, 2013 (“Act”), and the SEBI (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015 (“LODR”), envisages a key role for the Nomination and Remuneration Committee of the Board of Directors (“NRC”) – in ensuring that the company attracts and retains the best talent – and there is transparency in the process of appointment/ re-appointment and payment of remuneration to directors, key managerial personnel (“KMPs”) and senior management[1].

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AIF

Introduction

To enhance the standardisation of the application process, SEBI, on November 3, 2022, published ‘FAQs for grant of registration as alternative investment fund[1] (“FAQs”). The FAQs are guidelines for submission of the application for seeking registration as an Alternative Investment Fund (“AIF”). In addition to the information, documents and undertakings mandated under the First Schedule of the SEBI (Alternative Investment Funds) Regulations, 2012 (“AIF Regulations”), an applicant will now be required to submit information, documents and undertakings, as reproduced in this article. Thus, the application form will now constitute the following, (a) information as specified under the First Schedule of the AIF Regulations; and (b) other information as specified in the FAQs.

Continue Reading SEBI prescribes additional requirements for registering AIFs

LODR Disclosure Regime

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has recently issued a consultation paper on review of the disclosure requirements as applicable to listed companies. Regulation 30 of the Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements (LODR) Regulations prescribe the material events or information that is to be duly disclosed by listed companies to the stock exchanges. It is divided into two parts – Para A contains events that are deemed material, and Para B contains items that are to be disclosed basis application of the materiality policy of the respective companies. SEBI has indicated several reasons for review of the current regime – including investor complaints on asymmetrical disclosure of information and company complaints on lack of uniform guidance.

Continue Reading SEBI’s recent proposal on tweaking the LODR Disclosure Regime – More Spill and Tell

SEBI

In October 2022, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (“SEBI”) introduced several amendments to various chapters of its Operational Circular for issue and listing of Non-convertible Securities, Securitised Debt Instruments, Security Receipts, Municipal Debt Securities and Commercial Paper, dated August 10, 2021 (“Operational Circular”), in response to certain representations received by it from various market participants. These modifications appear to be in line with SEBI’s continued efforts to improve the accessibility, fairness, and transparency of the debt securities market.

Continue Reading Changes to SEBI’s framework on non-convertible debt securities: A Snapshot

Payment System Operators New M&A Implications

Background:

On July 4, 2022, the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) clarified to all banks and non-bank payment system operators (“PSOs”) that its prior approval would be required for any (a) takeover/ acquisition of control, which may or may not result in change of management; and (b) sale/ transfer of payment activity to an entity not authorised for undertaking similar activity (“Circular”).

Continue Reading FIG Paper (No. 15 – Series 1) – Payment System Operators (PSOs) – New M&A Implications

Subhkam Returns SAT Ruling in NDTV Case

The challenge in interpreting ‘control’ under the SEBI takeover regime is hardly a new one. The current definition of ‘control’ under the Takeover Regulations, 2011, similar to the one under the Takeover Code, 1997, consists of two parts. Firstly, the right to appoint a majority of the directors on the board of a company, which is fairly straightforward to determine; and secondly, the right to control the management and policy decisions of a company, which is where things tend to become slightly murky specially in the context of a minority shareholder exercising veto or affirmative vote rights.

Continue Reading Subhkam Returns: SAT Ruling in NDTV Case

REIT

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) issued a circular in April this year (Circular), reducing timelines for REIT listings from 12 working days to six working days from the date of public issue closure. While this is a welcome move from the perspective of public investors and is yet another step towards ensuring parity between REIT and listco regimes, this could prove challenging for REITs and their advisors, given the intricacies of the REIT regulatory framework.

Continue Reading Reduction in REIT Listing Timelines – A Sprint to the Finish Line?

Analysis of recently attempted Voluntary Delistings

The number of voluntarily delistings seen in the last 1 (one) year has surpassed the number of delistings attempted earlier in a single year. Promoters are choosing to voluntarily delist their companies from the stock exchanges for various reasons including stock market price not being reflective of true value of the company’s stock, having full control over operations (without being required to go for any public vote for critical transactions), restructuring of their group entities, greater flexibility and reducing costs related to numerous regulatory compliances.

Even the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) introduced various amendments (mostly for tightening of procedure) under the new SEBI (Delisting of Equity Shares) Regulations, 2021 (2021 Delisting Regulations). The 2021 Delisting Regulations replaced the old SEBI (Delisting of Equity Shares) Regulations, 2009 (2009 Delisting Regulations). However, the key elements of a delisting process i.e. requirement of super majority of minority shareholder being in favour of the delisting proposal and the bidding process through the reserve book build (RBB) mechanism remain the same even under the new 2021 Delisting Regulations.
Continue Reading Analysis of recently attempted Voluntary Delistings