Sebi Tightens norms for Public Debt Offerings

Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has tightened norms governing debt public offerings.

Bringing in some elements of initial public offering (IPO) guidelines, the regulator has prescribed minimum subscription limit of 75 per cent for public issue of debt securities. Failing to garner minimum subscription of 75 per cent of the base issue size, the issuer will have to refund application money to investors within 12 days of issue closing.

In an IPO, the company has to refund investors if it fails to garner the minimum subscription of 90 per cent of the issue size.

Meanwhile, Sebi has prescribed a base issue size of a minimum Rs 100 crore for all public issue of debt securities.

The regulator has also said issuers would be allowed to retain a maximum over-subscription of 100 per cent of the base issue size. Currently, there is no cap on the retention of over-subscription for public issue of non-convertible debentures.

Sebi has also directed all companies making public issue of debt securities to specify the “object of the issue” in the offer document and has said the amount earmarked as “general corporate purposes”, shall not exceed 25 per cent of the amount proposed to be raised.

“On analysis of the various offer documents, filed by the issuers for public issue of NCDs, it is observed that almost none of the issuers gave concrete objectives for the issue. Most of the objectives stated are in the form of a blanket statement encompassing a lot of avenues for utilizing the monies raised through the issue,” Sebi said in a circular today.

Business Line, New Delhi, 18-06-2014

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