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Easing Delisting of Equity Shares

-Shreya Masalia and Anushka Vohra

corplaw@vinodkothari.com

In order to make the existing delisting Regulations robust, efficient, transparent and investorfriendly, the Securities Exchange Board of India (‘SEBI’) has issued the SEBI (Delisting of Equity Shares) Regulations, 2021[1] (‘Delisting Regulations, 2021’) on June 11, 2021, thereby superseding the erstwhile SEBI (Delisting of Equity Shares) Regulations, 2009[2] (‘Erstwhile Regulations’). The Erstwhile Regulations were notified on June 10, 2009. Thereafter, several amendments have been carried out in the delisting regulations according to the changing need and developments in the securities market. Thus, to further streamline and strengthen the process to be followed for delisting, the Delisting Regulations have been introduced.

In India, a large number of entities are listed on regional stock exchanges, serving no public interest at all. In fact, over the years, most of them have become non-compliant. However, given the cumbersome process of delisting, these companies have chosen to remain listed. The Delisting Regulation, 2021 has made the path of exit for these entities comparatively easier.

In this article, the authors have made an attempt to discuss the changes in the delisting procedure as introduced vide the Delisting Regulations, 2021.

Background

Listing of shares at stock exchanges provides for free transferability and ready marketability to the shares of a company. In contrast to that, when a public company chooses to go private, it has to delist from the stock exchanges – which means that the shares of that company will no longer be available for trading on the platform provided by the stock exchange.

The Companies choose to list themselves to grab the advantages of listing viz; lower cost of capital, greater shareholder base, liquidity in trading of shares, prestige etc. But the companies need to be contended that the benefits of listing outweigh the listing costs, the compliance requirements do not overburden the companies and do not expose them to disciplinary actions.

Initially, there existed 21 regional stock exchanges (‘RSE’) in India of which 20 such RSEs have shut down over the years due course due to their lack of financial viability, exchanges becoming defunct, usage of archaic technology and subsequent derecognition of the exchanges by SEBI. The lone-standing regional stock exchange is the Calcutta Stock Exchange (‘CSE’), which is also at its verge of getting shut. Various companies continue to be listed on CSE, however the economic viability of the same is still questionable. The Delisting Regulations provide for an easy exit opportunity to these companies by significantly reducing the time-period of the delisting process and streamlining the same.

Also with the relisting bar of 5 years in case of voluntary delisting having been reduced to 3 years will now allow the companies to relist in a comparatively lesser period of time and raise funds for their new venture.

Why do companies opt for delisting?

The statistics given below show that there has been a tremendous increase in the number of companies being delisted from the stock exchange. Delisting from the stock exchanges could either be undertaken voluntarily, or compulsory delisting by the Stock Exchanges or delisting pursuant to liquidation.

(Source: NSE)

Understanding compulsory and voluntary delisting

Compulsory delisting generally, is caused due to procedural and compliance lapses by the companies. Amongst other causes, the major causes for compulsory delisting include non-payment of listing fee, reduction in public shareholding and failure to meet the same, unfair trade practices at the behest of the management/promoters etc.

While compulsory delisting is at the precept of the Stock Exchanges, companies opt to voluntarily delist themselves.

The most common rationale for companies to opt for voluntary delisting in the recent time has been;

  1. To obtain full ownership of the company by the promoter & promoter group which will in turn provide increased financial flexibility to support the Company’s business and financial needs;
  2. To explore new financing structures including financial support from the Promoter Group;
  3. To help in cost savings and allow the management to dedicate more time and focus on the core business;
  4. To provide easy exit to shareholders because of thin trading volume.

Modes of Exit via Delisting

The Delisting Regulations, as laid down by SEBI provides two modes of delisting of equity shares viz; (a) Compulsory and (b) Voluntary:

Further, in the case of voluntary delisting, companies have the following options:

  1. delisting from all the recognised stock exchanges ;
  2. delisting from any but not all the recognised stock exchanges, including delisting from Stock Exchange having nationwide trading terminal;
  3. delisting from any but not all the recognised stock exchanges, while remaining listed on the Recognised Stock Exchange having nationwide trading terminal.

In the case of 1 and 2 above, the companies have an obligation to provide an exit opportunity to the existing shareholders.

While the process in case of iii. above remains the same, changes have been brought about in the way a company has to manage the delisting offer pursuant to provision of exit opportunity. The gist of the changes introduced by the Delisting Regulations have been discussed below.

Overview of the Key Changes

  1. Disclosure by the Acquirer / Promoter[3]

 In the Erstwhile Regulations, the process flow was that the acquirer used to intimate their intention to delist the Company to the Board and the Board would then intimate the same to the Stock Exchanges before granting its approval.

Now the Delisting Regulations, 2021, cast an obligation on the acquirer to intimate to the Stock Exchanges, their intention to delist the Company first and within one working day of its intimation shall also inform the Company at its Registered Office, this is termed as the Initial Public Announcement.

Comments: An intention to delist a company is a price sensitive event and can have a major impact on the market. Hence, its immediate disclosure to the public is warranted. Therefore, to fill the lacunae on information being made available to the public, intimation by the acquirer has been made mandatory.

2.Time-bound mechanism

The delisting procedure involves intricacies requiring approvals at various stages.Unlike the t new regulations specify the timelines for the entire process, making it less cumbersome and time-bound, as shown in the table below:

Event / compliance Existing Timeline Revised Timeline
Board resolution None specified Within 21 days from the date the acquirer expresses his intention
Special resolution None specified Within 45 days from the date of approval of the board
Escrow Account Before making public announcement Not later than 7 working days from the date of obtaining the shareholder’s approval.
In-principle approval None specified Within 15 working days from the date of obtaining shareholders approval or receipt of any statutory or regulatory approval; whichever is later.
Outcome of Reverse Book Building (‘RBB’) None specified To be announced within 2 hours from the closure of the bidding period. The same is also required to be published in the same newspapers as the newspapers in which the detailed public announcement was made within 2 working days from closure of the tendering period.
Release of shares in case of failure of offer Within 10 working days from the closure of the offer, where bids were not accepted In case of failure due to

90% of the shares are not tendered: on the date of disclosure of the outcome of the RBB process

 

Discovered price being rejected by acquirer: on the date of making public announcement for the failure of the delisting

Payment on successful delisting Within 10 working days from closure of offer Discovered price same as floor price: payment through secondary market settlement mechanism

 

Discovered price higher than floor price: within 5 working days from the date of making the payment to the public shareholders

Final application to the stock exchanges after successful delisting Within a period of 1 year from the date of passing of special resolution Within 5 working days from the date of making the payment to the public shareholders

 

 

 

3.Due diligence by Peer Reviewed Company Secretary

 Before making the public announcement in case of voluntary delisting, the board had to appoint a Merchant Banker for carrying out the due diligence and then on obtaining the in-principle approval, the acquirer had to appoint a Merchant Banker to act as manager to the issue. The Regulations provided that the Merchant Banker appointed by the board could act as manager to the offer.

Comments: Realising that this could probably result in conflict of interest, the new regulations provide that the board shall appoint a Peer Reviewed Company Secretary, who shall be independent of the promoter/ acquirer/Merchant Banker/or their Associates before the board meeting for granting approval and the Company Secretary shall carry out the necessary due diligence. Further, the acquirer shall before making the initial public announcement, appoint a Merchant Banker to act as manager to the offer. This has also opened up a new avenue for the Company Secretaries in Practice.

4.Escrow Account

Under the Erstwhile Regulation, the acquirer was required to deposit the consideration amount in the Escrow account after getting in-principle approval from SE however before making the PA. The new regulations make it obligatory on the acquirer to open an escrow account even before applying for in-principle approval. The acquirer has to deposit an amount equivalent to 25% of the total consideration at the time of opening the escrow account and the remaining consideration amount of 75% shall be deposited in the escrow account prior to the detailed public announcement.

Comments: Because of stringent timelines, surety is provided that the acquirer has the financial stability and has earmarked funds for the proposed delisting. Moreover, since this is an interest-bearing account, there would be no loss of interest, even if the delisting offer fails at the end.

5.Enhanced responsibility on the Board of Directors

 The new regulations intend to be more robust as far as the responsibility of the board is concerned. The erstwhile regulations required that the board shall before granting its approval certify that the proposed delisting is in the interest of the shareholders. And this certification was mere infructuous because there was no disclosure of the same and no reasonable justification, for that matter.

Comments: Considering a situation, where the Expression of Interest is received from an amicable acquirer i.e. the case of friendly takeover, there is a possibility of collusion between the acquirer and the management and in that case the interest of shareholders’ might take a back seat. However, to avoid the same, Regulation 28 has been added into the new regulations which provides that upon receipt of the detailed public statement the Board of Directors shall constitute a committee of independent directors to provide written reasoned recommendations on the delisting offer and the same shall also be disclosed by the Company in the newspapers where the detailed public statement was published, at least 2 working days before the bidding period.

6.Investor friendly regulations

 SEBI, being the watchdog of the Securities Market, had been established to protect the interest of investors as one of its main objectives, amongst others.

The Delisting Regulations provide that the public shareholders who could not participate in the RBB process could further tender their shares upto 1 year from the date of delisting and the promoter shall accept the tendered shares at the price which was finalised through RBB.

In addition to that, the new regulations now require the promoter/acquirer/Merchant Banker to comply with the following on a quarterly basis for 1 year from the date of delisting:

  1. Submit quarterly reports to the Stock Exchanges specifying details of shareholders at the beginning and end of the quarter and shareholders who availed the offer during the quarter;
  2. To send follow up communications to remaining shareholders;
  3. Publishing advertisement to invite the remaining shareholders to avail the offer

Comments: While the shareholders were given a time of upto 1 year, it was observed that the promoters did not take active steps to bail out the remaining shareholders.

7.Indicative Price

The new regulations have unraveled the concept of Indicative Price. As a general practice, some companies with a view to wriggle out of the complexities of remaining listed on the bourses, used to mention the terms indicative price or attractive price in the letter of offer. This price being higher than the floor price, was used to lure the shareholders to tender their shares.

The new regulations have defined Indicative Price as being a price higher than the floor price.

Comments: Even though the word has found its place in the regulations, in our view, SEBI should place a capping on the indicative price so as to ensure that the Companies do not offer lucrative price to the shareholders.

Changes in addition to the above

 Special provisions for delisting of shares already existed for small companies in the erstwhile regulations. SEBI has further prescribed the following special provisions for delisting:

1.Special provisions for delisting of shares on Innovators Growth Platform

These provisions are similar to the provisions for delisting of shares from the main board however, these provisions require that shares tendered reach 75% of the total issued shares of that class and at least 50% shares of the public shareholders as on date of the board meeting in which such delisting is approved are tendered and accepted instead of the 90% requirement.

 2. Special provisions for a subsidiary company getting delisted through scheme of arrangement wherein the listed holding entity and subsidiary company are in the same line of business

Transactions covered under the given head will not attract provisions of these Regulations provided the various conditions mentioned in regulation 37(2) have been complied with.

SEBI, vide notifcation dated July 09, 2021 has exempted the listed subsidiary companies, getting delisted through scheme of arrangement, that are –
– in the ‘same line of business’ as of its holding company;
– the subsidiary shall be a listed subsidiary of a listed holding company for a period of 3 years.

Further, vide said notification, SEBI has also laid down the following criteria for ascertaining whether the listed holding entity and subsidiary are in the ‘same line of business’:

 3. Special provisions for delisting by operation of law

These provisions shall be applicable in case of winding up of a company and recognition of a stock exchange by SEBI. In the former, the process of winding up shall be as prescribed by the prevalent regulatory framework. However, the latter seems highly unlikely.

Some Miscellaneous Changes

  1. The erstwhile regulations identified only peer reviewed chartered accountants and merchant bankers as valuers, however the same has now been defined with reference to section 247 of the Companies Act, 2013 which widens the scope of the definition. Therefore, any individual with a post-diploma/postgraduate degree or a bachelor’s degree with 3 and 5 years experience respectively in the specified field or having membership of a professional institute established by an Act of Parliament enacted for the purpose of regulation of a profession with at least 3 years’ experience after such membership shall also be considered as eligible valuers.
  2. The detailed public announcement, amongst other details, is now also required to provide the indicative price if any given by the acquirer and a list of documents copies which shall be available for inspection by public shareholders at the registered office of the manager during the working days.
  3. The copy of the letter of offer shall be made available on the website of the company as well as that of the manager to the offer. The order copy of the stock exchange ordering compulsory delisting of the entity shall be uploaded on the website of the stock exchanges.
  4. As a pre-condition to voluntary delisting, the erstwhile regulations provided that the Companies cannot apply for delisting pursuant to buyback/preferential allotment offer being made. But there was lack of cohesiveness on when the buyback/preferential allotment offer being made by the Company would restrict delisting offer. Therefore, the new regulations specify that voluntary delisting shall not be permitted unless a period of 6 months has elapsed from the date of completion of last buyback/preferential allotment.
  5. For counting minimum 90% of the issued shares of a class, shares held by custodian of depository receipts, by Trust under SEBI (Share Based Employee Benefit) Regulations, by inactive shareholders such as vanishing and struck off companies have been excluded aiding the acquirer to achieve the minimum share tendering criteria with greater ease.

Effect of the instant changes

The new regulations have eased the earlier complex procedure of voluntary delisting. The enhanced disclosures and transparency will help to instil confidence among the shareholders. The business environment is dynamic and the time-bound procedure would help the companies to avail exit from the Stock Exchanges and explore their business opportunities by going private.

Concluding Remarks

In India, “Delisting” process has seen very less success as compared to the global market. The new regulations irrefutably addresses some core aspects and also emphasizes on incremental improvements by plugging some of the gaps in the Erstwhile Regulations, as the new Regulations inter alia provide for delisting of equity shares of a subsidiary company (having the same line of business), delisting pursuant to a scheme of arrangement and delisting due to operation of law such as due to winding up of a company or de-recognition of a stock exchange. However, in view of the authors, the cautious approach taken by the SEBI in the New Regulations may still narrow its applications. The impact of the changes brought in through New Delisting Regulations on the success rate of the delisting process is yet to be seen.

 

[1] https://egazette.nic.in/WriteReadData/2021/227507.pdf

[2] https://www.sebi.gov.in/legal/regulations/jun-2009/sebi-delisting-of-equity-shares-regulations-2009-last-amended-on-march-6-2017-_34625.html

[3] “acquirer” includes a person –

(i) who decides to make an offer for delisting of equity shares of the company along with the persons

acting in concert in accordance with regulation 5A of the Takeover Regulations as amended from

time to time ; or

(ii) who is the promoter or part of the promoter group along with the persons acting in concert.

Our other article on the relevant topic – http://vinodkothari.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Note-on-Delisting-of-equity-shares-1.pdf

SEBI notifies substantial amendments in Listing Regulations

Proposals approved in SEBI BM of March, 2021 made effective

Payal Agarwal | Executive  ( corplaw@vinodkothari.com )                                                                                                      May 07, 2021

Introduction

SEBI, the capital market regulator of India, vide a gazette notification dated 06th May, 2021 notified Securities and Exchange Board of India (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) (Second Amendment) Regulations, 2021 [“the Amendment Regulations”] that were approved in SEBI’s Board Meeting held on March 25, 2021. Most of the amendments were already rolled out earlier as consultation papers in 2020. The amendments become effective from May 06, 2021.

This article discusses the major amendments carried out and the likely impact and actionable for the listed entities.

Brief of the amendments are as follows –

A gist of all the amendments under the Amendment Regulations have been captured in a snippet.

1.     Applicability of the Listing Regulations

In terms of Regulation 3 of SEBI (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2013 (‘Listing Regulations’) the provisions of Listing Regulations are applicable to entities that list the designated securities on the stock exchange.

The Amendment Regulations clarify that the applicability of certain provisions of Listing Regulations based on market capitalisation will continue to apply even where the entities fall below the prescribed threshold.

While the market capitalisation may be derived for any day, the recognised stock exchanges viz. BSE Limited and National Stock Exchange of India Limited releases a list of listed entities based on market capitalisation periodically. However, the provisions under Listing Regulations become applicable based on market capitalisation as at the end of the immediate previous financial year.

The present amendment on the continuation of applicability of provisions even after the listed entity ceasing to be among the top 500, 1000, 2000 listed entities, as the case may be, seems inappropriate. The applicability of these provisions were originally introduced in view of the size of the listed entities that held major market cap. Indefinite applicability of the said provisions despite fall in the market capitalisation of the listed entity is more of a compliance burden. The provision should be amended by SEBI in line with the timeframe provided under Reg. 15 i.e. where a listed entity does not fall under the list of top 100, 500, 1000, 2000 for three consecutive financial years, the compliance requirement should cease to apply.

Therefore, a conjoint reading of both the provisions should be allowed to take a liberal interpretation in respect of the newly-inserted Regulation 3(2) as well, thereby relaxation of compliance requirements on completion of a look-back period of 3 consecutive financial years.

2.     Risk Management Committee

Regulation 21 of Listing Regulations requires the listed entities to constitute a Risk Management Committee (RMC).  A comparative study of the erstwhile and the amended provisions w.r.t RMC is given below –

Topic Erstwhile provisions Amended provisions
Applicability of RMC ·       On top 500 listed entities (Based on market capitalisation) ·       On top 1000 listed entities based on market capitalisation
Composition ·       Members of Board of Directors

·       Senior executives of listed entity

·       2/3rds IDs in case of SR Equity Shares

·       Minimum 3 members

·       Majority being members of board of directors

·       Atleast 1 Independent Director (ID)

·       2/3rds IDs in case of SR Equity Shares

Minimum no. of meetings One Two
Quorum Not specified ·    2 or 1/3rds of total members of RMC, whichever is higher

·       Including atleast 1 member of Board

Maximum gap between two meetings Not specified Not more than 180 days gap between two consecutive meetings
Roles and responsibilities The board of directors were to define the role and responsibility and delegate monitoring and reviewing of the risk management plan and such other functions, including cyber security. As provided under Part D of Schedule II, that inter alia  includes:

·       Formulating of risk management policy;

·       Oversee implementation of the same;

·       Monitor and evaluate risks basis appropriate methodology, processes and systems.

·       Appointment, removal and terms of remuneration of CRO.

Power to seek Information No such power. The same was only available with Audit Committee under Reg. 18 (2) (c). RMC has powers to seek information from any employee, obtain outside legal or other professional advice and secure attendance of outsiders with relevant expertise, if it considers necessary.

The roles and responsibilities of the RMC has now been specified in the Regulations itself, which were once left at the discretion of Board. The formulation of Risk Management Policy has also been delegated to the RMC, with particular contents of the policy being specified under the Schedule.

An important role of the RMC, among others, include review of the appointment, removal and terms of remuneration of Chief Risk Officer (CRO). The appointment of CRO is not a mandatory requirement under Listing Regulations. CRO is required to be appointed for all banking companies, and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) having asset size of Rs. 50 billions or more, being registered as an Investment and Credit company, Infrastructure Finance Companies, Micro Finance Institutions, Factors, or Infrastructure Debt Funds. Further, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) Corporate Governance Guidelines requires the insurance companies to appoint CRO.

The role of RMC further provides for co-ordination with other committees where the roles  overlap. It is seen that the risk management function is also laid upon the Audit Committee. Therefore, the roles of both the committees might be overlapping. In view of the same, some companies choose to constitute one joint committee combining the roles of both Audit Committee and RMC.  From the provisions providing for co-ordination of activities, it may also be taken as a clear indication that the committees cannot be merged into one, but co-ordinate where the activities require so.

Actionables –
  • Changes in the constitution of RMC / Constitution of RMC in case of first-time applicability;
  • Modification of the Risk Management Policy as per the Amendment Regulations;
  • Amending the existing charter of the Committee to align with the amendments.

While the Amendment Regulations are effective immediately, the changes cannot take place overnight. Therefore, it is advisable that the listed entities shall take the matter of constitution/ re-constitution of RMC in the ensuing Board Meeting.  The modification of Risk Management Policy will be then taken up by the RMC and can be done within a reasonable period of time.

What should be this period? A probable answer to this should lie in the proviso to clause (a) of Reg. 15 that permits a timeline of six months from the applicability to comply with corporate governance requirements as stipulated under regulations 17 to 27, clauses (b) to (i) and (t) of sub-regulation (2) of regulation 46 and para C, D and E of Schedule V. However, that is applicable only in case of companies covered in Reg. 15 (2) (a). Therefore, the time available is till June 30, 2021 as thereafter, the companies will be required to confirm on RMC composition in the quarterly filings done under Reg. 27.

3.     Overriding powers of LODR Regulations

Earlier, proviso to Regulation 15(2)(b) provided a clear stipulation of overriding effect of specific statute in case of conflicting provisions. The Amendment Regulations provides for deletion of the said proviso effective from September 1, 2021. No rationale seems to have been provided in the agenda[1] put up before SEBI at the board meeting for this major amendment.

Regulators viz. RBI, IRDA, PFRDA at times have specific corporate governance related compliances that are stricter and at times conflicting with the requirements of Listing Regulations. For eg. With respect to composition of Audit Committee for a public sector bank, RBI Circular of September, 1995 provides for following composition in case of public sector banks: (a) Executive Director of the Bank (Wholetime director in case of SBI) (b) two official directors (i.e. nominees of Government and RBI) and (c) Two non-official, non-executive directors (at least one of them should be a Chartered Accountant). Directors from staff will not be included in ACB. This is certainly conflicting with the composition provided in Reg. 18 of Listing Regulations.

Subsequent to September 1, 2021 these entities will be regarded as non-compliant of the provisions of Listing Regulations and may be subject to penalty in terms of SEBI Circular dated January, 2020.

4.     Reclassification of promoters into public – related exemptions and procedural changes

Regulation 31A of the LODR Regulations specifies the conditions and approvals post which the promoters can be re-classified into public shareholders. SEBI had proposed changes to the same in a consultation paper dated 23rd November, 2020. The consultation paper was critically analysed in our article. Amendments have been made on similar lines in Regulation 31A.

5.     Alignment with the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013

Certain amendments have been made to remove the gap between the provisions of LODR Regulations, with that of the Companies Act, 2013 as given below –

  • Separate meeting of independent directors – The requirement of conducting a separate meeting of the independent directors without the presence of any other member of the Board of the company is required under both the Companies Act, 2013 as well as the LODR Regulations. However, whereas the Companies Act requires one meeting in a financial year, the LODR Regulations required one meeting in a year (calendar year). Therefore, the same has been substituted with a “financial year” so as to align the requirements of both the governing laws.
  • Display of Annual Return on website – Section 92 read with allied rules requires the companies, having a website, to display its Annual Return on the website. New clause has been inserted under Regulation 46 of LODR Regulations that requires placing the Annual Return on the website of the company.
  • Changes in requirements pertaining to placing of financial statements on website – The audited financial statements of each of the subsidiaries was required to be  placed on the website prior to the Amendment Regulations. New provisos has been inserted under the same so as to avoid preparation of separate financial statements of the subsidiary company, where the requirements under the Companies Act, 2013 are met if the consolidated financial statements are placed instead of separate ones.

6.     Mandatory website disclosures

Regulation 46 of the LODR Regulations provides the mandatory contents to be placed on the website of a listed entity. Most of the disclosures were already existing under respective regulations viz. Reg 30, 43A etc. However, the same has been consolidated under regulation 46. This will now enable stock exchanges to levy penalty in terms of SEBI circular dated 22nd January, 2020.

7.     Analyst meet

The listed entity is required to disclose the schedule of analyst or institutional investor meet and the presentations made to them on its website under regulation 46 and on the website of the stock exchange under Schedule III. The Amendment Regulations have explained the term ‘meet’ to mean the group meetings and calls, whether digitally or by physical means. The Amendment Regulations will require the listed entity to upload the audio/ video recordings and the transcripts within the prescribed timeframe. The same is in line with SEBI’s Report on disclosures pertaining to analyst meets, investor meets and conference calls. However, the amendment does not cover disclosure of one-to-one investor/ analyst meet conducted with select investors recommended in the said Report.

8.     Consolidation of various SEBI circulars

Certain circulars of SEBI lay down various requirements to be complied with in relation to the LODR Regulations. The Amendment Regulations have consolidated the requirements under the principal LODR Regulations.

  • Requirement of Secretarial Compliance Report – While the requirement of Annual Secretarial Compliance report were applicable on the listed entities and its material subsidiaries since a few years back, the same has now been specifically provided under newly inserted sub-regulation (2) of Regulation 24A. Earlier, the practice came pursuant to a SEBI circular.
  • Timeline for report of monitoring agency regarding deviation in use of proceeds – Pursuant to the requirements of Regulation 32 of the LODR Regulations, the monitoring agency is required to give a report on the utilisation of proceeds of issue on a quarterly basis. While timelines were not specified in the LODR Regulations, the report was required to be given within 45 days from the end of the quarter. This timeline was pursuant to the SEBI circular dated 24th December, 2019 . Now, with the Amendment regulations, the same is specified under regulation 32(6) of the LODR Regulations.
  • Requirement of Business responsibility and sustainability report (BRSR)- SEBI had proposed a new format to replace the existing Business Responsibility Report. The proposal was finalised and the BRSR format has been made mandatorily applicable from FY 2022-23 onwards, vide SEBI circular dated April, 2021 . The same has also been consolidated under Regulation 34 of the LODR Regulations. A detailed discussion on BRSR is covered in our article.

Conclusion

The Amendment Regulations are very crucial and significant in nature. While on one hand, certain provisions are aligned with the Companies Act, 2013, whereas on the other hand, overriding powers have been given to LODR Regulations which will require the listed entities formed under special statute to comply with the LODR Regulations in entirety. Uniformity in timelines and relaxation in certain disclosure requirements will encourage ease of doing business, and the coverage of certain provisions extended to listed entities based on market capitalisation will have a remarkable impact on the corporate governance of listed entities.

[1] https://www.sebi.gov.in/web/?file=https://www.sebi.gov.in/sebi_data/meetingfiles/apr-2021/1619067328922_1.pdf#page=18&zoom=page-width,-17,763

Our other materials on the relevant topic can be read here –

  1. http://vinodkothari.com/2021/06/presentation-on-lodr-amendments/
  2. http://vinodkothari.com/2020/09/companies-amendment-act-2020/
  3. http://vinodkothari.com/2019/07/sebi-amends-lodr-in-relation-to-equity-shares-with-superior-rights/
  4. http://vinodkothari.com/2019/02/overlap-in-reporting-of-secretarial-compliance/
  5. http://vinodkothari.com/2018/12/faqs-on-sebi-listing-obligations-and-disclosure-requirements-amendment-regulations-2018/
  6. http://vinodkothari.com/2016/01/sebi-faqs-on-listing-regulations-2015-brings-ambiguity-rather-than-clarity/

FAQs on CSR 2021 Amendments

FAQs on CSR 2021 Amendments

[These FAQs pertain to the amendments made vide the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2020 and the Companies (Corporate Social Responsibility) Amendment Rules, 2021. These FAQs need to be read with our FAQs on CSR]

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IBC and related reforms: Where do MSMEs Stand?

The MSME industry, colloquially referred to as the power engine of the economy has been a focal point of several reforms over the years. The recent reforms w.r.t. MSMEs and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (“Code’) has altered the stance of MSMEs, both as creditors and debtors. In this article, we shall discuss some significant reforms/ amendments w.r.t. MSMEs (due to COVID, or otherwise), and those under the Code and analyse the cumulative impact of these reforms on the sector in the prevailing scenario

Recent Reforms in Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code

-Sikha Bansal & Megha Mittal

(resolution@vinodkothari.com

The past year has seen several reforms and amendments in the insolvency framework, be it enforcement of provisions for individual insolvency, or inclusion of FSPs under the insolvency regime. Additionally, Committees have been actively working on two extremely relevant aspects which presently the Code does not provide for- Group Insolvency and Cross Border Insolvency.

In our presentation (link given below) we have tried to collate the recent amendments and the workings of the Committee reports so as to provide a one-stop reference for  reforms as on Mar’20- see here