Friday, November 25, 2011

SEBI Decisions on Public Offerings, Responsibility Reporting

SEBI’s board has taken decisions on certain matters involving public offerings and business responsibility reporting.

As far as the public offering process is concerned, some reforms have been introduced to promote the capital markets (e.g. increasing the minimum allotment for anchor investors and creating a separate category of disclosures for venture capital funds and other funds that own shares in the company), while others have been included to curb possible abuses (e.g. specifying a maximum tenure of 12 months for warrants issues along with public or rights issues of securities). Further details are available in this Business Standard report.

A key reform pertains to mandatory business responsibility reporting by listed companies as part of their annual reports. This requires companies to report on compliance with the National Voluntary Guidelines on Social, Environmental and Economic Responsibilities of Business issued by the Ministry of Companies Affairs. This is a welcome move as it enhances disclosures pertaining to aspects of business, which may be a useful strategy tool to curb the adverse social impact of corporate activity, as some of us have previously argued. This move is also a significant precursor to the introduction of significant provisions regarding corporate social responsibility in the Companies Bill that is expected to be introduced in Parliament shortly.

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