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Floodgates open for primary market issuances in GIFT City

KR Srivats New Delhi | Updated on July 21, 2021

IFSCA brings comprehensive issuance and listing framework

Indian unicorns, unlisted companies and start-ups need not look for listing in global bourses to attract well-heeled foreign institutional and retail investors. These players can now go to GIFT City — the country’s sole International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) — to launch their primary issuances like an IPO or even modern structures like a SPAC to attract monies from foreign investors and non-resident Indians in a big way and get themselves listed on GIFT IFSC Exchanges.

The floodgates for primary market issuances are now open in GIFT City with the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) coming out with a comprehensive listing framework that will enable Indian and foreign issuers to issue and list securities on GIFT IFSC platform.

The latest framework has several new concepts getting introduced in India ( Indian IFSC) including SR shares (superior voting rights), fast-track Follow-on Public Offers (FPOs), listing of Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs), ESG debt securities.

“A comprehensive primary market framework has been established in IFSC for the first time. This is unique for us as it is the first time this has been done. Till now there was no underlying market and nobody could list securities. We only had derivatives market and nobody could list their primary route securities or secondary ones. Now, we can encourage issuers from India and the companies from IFSCs and companies from FATF jurisdictions to do their primary issuances out of GIFT City,” V Balasubramanian, Managing Director & CEO, India INX, told BusinessLine. India INX is a stock exchange operating out of GIFT City.

He highlighted that this regime combined with capital gains tax exemption available in IFSC could prove to be a big draw for international investors and NRIs in participating in IPOs and trading in listed securities in GIFT City.

Business volumes

Tapan Ray, Managing Director and Group CEO, GIFT City said the latest IFSCA move will “significantly boost the pace of business volumes in GIFT IFSC. The listing framework will enable Indian and foreign issuers to issue and list securities on GIFT IFSC platform. Currently, the exchanges in GIFT IFSC offers various derivative products covering index, commodities, currencies etc. This new listing framework will provide opportunities to offer investment products for both resident and non-resident investors on GIFT IFSC exchanges”.

Tushar Sachade, Partner, Price Waterhouse & Co LLP, said that the latest IFSCA move will open up various avenues for listing and trading of different types of securities in IFSC.

“All companies, whether incorporated in India, IFSC or in a foreign jurisdiction, have been permitted to list their securities in international stock exchanges in IFSC, thus enabling easy access to raise capital globally. A unified regulatory framework which also includes products like ESG debt securities and IPOs by a SPAC will enable IFSC to become a prominent financial hub and provide an ecosystem for supporting sustainability and ESG financing. This is a welcome step in the right direction to create availability of products on the IFSC Exchanges and to turn IFSC into a truly global financial centre,” Sachade said.

Published on July 21, 2021

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