Annual information memorandum likely to provide exhaustive info about a company
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) is learnt to be finalising a new mechanism to simplify the documentation process for listed companies wishing to issue new securities. Sources told FE that the concept of an ‘annual information memorandum’ will be introduced by the regulator, replacing the traditional offer document, if a company plans subsequent public issues via an offer for sale (OFS) or a follow-on public offering (FPO).
This memorandum is expected to provide exhaustive information about a company including financials, pending litigations and risk factors. Companies will have to file the document once a year. To incorporate the new mechanism, Sebi will amend Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirement (LODR) regulations.
As per the current LODR regulations, a company needs to file an offer document whenever it comes up with a public offering. However, offer documents are not mandatory in the cases of private placement like preferential issue, qualified institutional placements (QIPs), etc. The documentation is also not mandatory in case of rights issue where the company plans to tap existing shareholders.
Offer documents are usually drafted by merchant bankers in coordination with legal advisers. Post introduction of annual information memorandum, a company will be able to cut on the fees paid to merchant bankers and lawyers for the issue.
“Currently, we have the concept of annual reports. The new mechanism is a step forward. Annual information memorandums would provide additional details like pending litigations, etc. The regulator would come up with a format for the memorandum soon. This will also help investors get all the information about a company at a single place,” said an investment banker who is part of the primary markets advisory committee (PMAC) of Sebi.
As per the current LODR regulations, a company needs to upload an annual report which should contain audited financial statements, cash flow statements,directors report and management discussion and analysis report. The top 500 listed entities in terms of market capitalisation should also disclose business responsibility report describing initiatives taken by them from an environmental, social and governance perspectives.
In October 2015, Sebi had introduced the concept of abridged prospectus that companies need to file for public offers. Under this mechanism, any company going for an IPO needs to file an abridged prospectus along with the regular draft red herring prospectus (DRHP). The abridged prospects would be a 10-page document which would provide all the key information to the investor about the company. The decision was taken in the interest of investors as the full DRHP of a company runs into 400-500 pages.