Norms for rating agencies on non-cooperative firms modified

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on January 03, 2020

In a move to further strengthen the credit rating process, market regulator SEBI on Friday directed credit rating agencies (CRAs) to downgrade an instrument to ‘non-investment grade with issuer not cooperating (INC) status’, if all outstanding ratings of the issuer remain non-cooperative for more than six months.

If non-cooperation by the issuer continues for a further six months from the date of downgrade to non-investment grade, no CRA should assign any new ratings to such issuer, until the company resumes cooperation or the rating is withdrawn, SEBI further said.

SEBI has also relaxed the norms for CRAs to withdraw from an issue, which has multiple ratings.

The rating agency is allowed to withdraw if it has rated an instrument for three years continuously or for 50 per cent of the tenure of the instrument, whichever is longer, said SEBI.

Additionally, the CRA must have received a no-objection certificate from 75 per cent of the bondholders of the outstanding debt for withdrawal of rating. The CRA must also have received an undertaking from the issuer that another rating is available on that instrument, SEBI said.

Further, at the time of withdrawal, the CRA should assign a rating to such instrument and issue a press release in the prescribed format mentioning the reason for withdrawal of rating.

Earlier, SEBI had tightened the norms from CRAs to exit from the issue based on lack of information provided by the issuer. If the company stops cooperating with the CRA and does not provide information, the CRA must continue to publish a rating accompanied with the statement, ‘issuer did not cooperate, based on best available information’.

Published on January 03, 2020

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