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Foreign Currency Convertible Bond (FCCB) means a bond issued by an Indian company expressed in foreign currency, the principal and interest of which is payable in foreign currency. FCCBs are issued in accordance with the Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds and ordinary shares (through depository receipt mechanism) Scheme 1993 and subscribed by a non-resident entity in foreign currency and convertible into ordinary shares of the issuing company in any manner, either in whole, or in part.
Depository Receipt means a foreign currency denominated instrument, whether listed on an international exchange or not, issued by a foreign depository in a permissible jurisdiction on the back of eligible securities issued or transferred to that foreign depository and deposited with a domestic custodian and includes ‘global depository receipt’ as defined in the Companies Act, 2013
(i) Indian companies can raise foreign currency resources abroad through the issue of FCCB/DR (ADRs/GDRs), in accordance with the Scheme for issue of Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds and Ordinary Shares (Through Depository Receipt Mechanism) Scheme, 1993 and guidelines issued by the Government of India there under from time to time.
(ii) An Indian Company can issue ADRs / GDRs if it is eligible to issue shares to person resident outside India under the FDI Policy. However, an Indian listed company, which is not eligible to raise funds from the Indian Capital Market including a company which has been restrained from accessing the securities market by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) will not be eligible to issue ADRs/GDRs. Overseas Corporate Bodies (OCBs) who are not eligible to invest in India through the portfolio route and entities prohibited to buy, sell or deal in securities by SEBI will not be eligible to subscribe to (i) Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds and (ii) Ordinary Shares through Global Depositary Receipts under the Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds and Ordinary Shares (Through Depositary Receipt Mechanism) Scheme, 1993.
(iii) Unlisted companies, which have not yet accessed the ADR/GDR route for raising capital in the international market, would require prior or simultaneous listing in the domestic market, while seeking to issue such overseas instruments. Unlisted companies, which have already issued ADRs/GDRs in the international market, have to list in the domestic market on making profit or within three years of such issue of ADRs/GDRs, whichever is earlier. ADRs / GDRs are issued on the basis of the ratio worked out by the Indian company in consultation with the Lead Manager to the issue. The proceeds so raised have to be kept abroad till actually required in India. Pending repatriation or utilization of the proceeds, the Indian company can invest the funds in:-
(a) Deposits, Certificate of Deposits or other instruments offered by banks rated by Standard and Poor, Fitch, IBCA ,Moody’s, etc. with rating not below the rating stipulated by Reserve Bank from time to time for the purpose
(b) Deposits with branch/es of Indian Authorized Dealers outside India
(c) Treasury bills and other monetary instruments with a maturity or unexpired maturity of one year or less.
(iv) There are no end-use restrictions except for a ban on deployment / investment of such funds in real estate or the stock market. There is no monetary limit up to which an Indian company can raise ADRs / GDRs.
(v) The ADR / GDR proceeds can be utilized for first stage acquisition of shares in the disinvestment process of Public Sector Undertakings / Enterprises and also in the mandatory second stage offer to the public in view of their strategic importance.
(vi) Voting rights on shares issued under the Scheme shall be as per the provisions of Companies Act, 2013 and in a manner in which restrictions on voting rights imposed on ADR/GDR issues shall be consistent with the Company Law provisions. Voting rights in the case of banking companies will continue to be in terms of the provisions of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 and the instructions issued by the Reserve Bank from time to time, as applicable to all shareholders exercising voting rights.
(vii) Erstwhile OCBs who are not eligible to invest in India and entities prohibited from buying, selling or dealing in securities by SEBI will not be eligible to subscribe to ADRs/ GDRs issued by Indian companies.
(viii) The pricing of ADR / GDR issues should be made at a price determined under the provisions of the Scheme of issue of Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds and Ordinary Shares (through Depository Receipt Mechanism) Scheme, 1993 and guidelines issued by the Government of India and directions issued by the Reserve Bank, from time to time. The pricing should be made at a price not less than the higher of the following two averages:
- The average of the weekly high and low of the closing prices of the related shares quoted on the stock exchange during the six months preceding the relevant date;
- The average of the weekly high and low of the closing prices of the related shares quoted on a stock exchange during the two weeks preceding the relevant date.
The “relevant date” means the date thirty days prior to the date on which the meeting of the general body of shareholders is held to consider the proposed issue.
(ix) The pricing of sponsored ADRs/GDRs would be determined under the provisions of the Scheme of issue of Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds and Ordinary Shares (Through Depository Receipt Mechanism) Scheme, 1993 and guidelines issued by the Government of India and directions issued by the Reserve Bank, from time to time.
Two-way Fungibility Scheme: A limited two-way Fungibility scheme has been put in place by the Government of India for ADRs / GDRs. Under this Scheme, a stock broker in India, registered with SEBI, can purchase shares of an Indian company from the market for conversion into ADRs/GDRs based on instructions received from overseas investors. Re-issuance of ADRs / GDRs would be permitted to the extent of ADRs / GDRs which have
Sponsored ADR/GDR issue: An Indian Company can also sponsor an issue of ADR / GDR. Under this mechanism, the company offers its resident shareholders a choice to submit their shares back to the company so that on the basis of such shares, ADRs / GDRs can be issued abroad. The proceeds of the ADR / GDR issue are remitted back to India and distributed among the resident investors who had offered their Rupee denominated shares for conversion. These proceeds can be kept in Resident Foreign Currency (Domestic) accounts in India by the resident shareholders who have tendered such shares for conversion into ADRs / GDRs.
Reporting of FCCB/ADR/GDR Issues
The Indian company issuing ADRs / GDRs has to furnish to the Reserve Bank, full details of such issue in the Form- DR (Return to be filed by an Indian Company who has arranged issue of GDR/ADR), within 30 days from the date of closing of the issue. The company should also furnish a quarterly return in the Form DR – Quarterly, to the Reserve Bank within 15 days of the close of the calendar quarter. The quarterly return has to be submitted till the entire amount raised through ADR/GDR mechanism is either repatriated to India or utilized abroad as per the extant Reserve Bank guidelines.