Here is why promoters of stressed companies will get more flexibility in attracting investors now
In order to ensure that the relaxations can be availed by genuinely stressed companies, clear criteria for a company to qualify as a stressed company have been laid down.
Due to the new set of amendments introduced by capital market regulator Sebi in its preferential share issuance norms, promoters of stressed companies will get more flexibility in attracting investors and the process of determining the right price for assets would get easier. Market experts said the new guidelines provide flexibility to the promoters and promoter group entities to attract investors for their companies rather than becoming completely dispossessed as under the IBC framework.
The amendments can also help promoters get financial investors on board without losing control of the company. Even if they get investors who wish to take control, they could end up with a continuing role in the company which may be diluted but not completely removed. Therefore, due to such flexibility, promoters may prefer restructuring through these guidelines as a better and faster alternative than going through IBC, the experts added.
Sebi, on June 22, introduced guidelines relaxing pricing and open offer requirements to enable easier fund raising through preferential allotment by stressed listed companies. In order to ensure that the relaxations can be availed by genuinely stressed companies, clear criteria for a company to qualify as a stressed company have been laid down.
Adequate safeguards have also been put in place in terms of restricting persons who are eligible to participate, end-use disclosures, restrictions and monitoring, lock-in requirements, certification by audit committee & statutory auditor etc.
Prior to these guidelines, the Sebi regulations provided exemption from preferential issue pricing and open offer requirements only for those companies whose resolution plan was approved under the IBC, but now a wider pool of companies can get these benefits.
The recent guidelines make fund raising through preferential issue easier for even those companies which are actually stressed but have not gone under the IBC framework.
Many companies prefer restructuring outside the IBC framework, especially in view of delays, associated litigations, clogging of the cases in the NCLT, etc and these relaxations would be of immense benefit to such companies, experts said as per a news report in PTI.
Overall, more than 270 listed companies as on date have their debt instruments/loans rated as D and therefore can be construed as stressed in nature. Many of these companies can get benefitted after satisfying necessary conditions.
Further, exemption from open offer is a major relaxation for investors in such companies since the investors now would have to only infuse funds to the extent of investment in the company and not for giving exit to other investors.
The new rules also extend the benefits to companies under ongoing IBC suspension for six months.
In view of the recent COVID situation, corporate insolvency resolution filing under IBC has suspended for six months for any debt defaults post March 25, 2020. Therefore, many companies and lenders would not be able to utilise the restructuring framework under the IBC during these 6 months even if they wish to do so.
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