- Related articles:
- What Information Does a Prospectus for an IPO Contain?
- IPO Calendar
- Ipo prospectus of a company
- Interpreting a Company's IPO Prospectus Report
- IPO - Initial Public Offering
- Initial Public Offering (IPO)
- What Is a Prospectus?
- Company Prospectus: Features, Contents and Mismatch
- How a Prospectus Works (With Example)
- What Is an IPO (Initial Public Offering)?
After reading this article you will learn about: 1.
Meaning of Prospectus 2. Features and Characteristics of Prospectus 3.
Forms and Contents 4. Mis-Statements 5. Statement In Lieu of Prospectus 6. Red Herring Prospectus.
Meaning of Prospectus:
2(36) of the Companies Act describes a prospectus as “any document issued as a prospectus and includes any notice, circular, advertisement or other document inviting deposits from the public or inviting offers from the public for the subscription or purchase of any share in, or debentures of a body corporate.”
In other words, it is a document which invites deposits from the public or invites offers from the public for the subscription of shares in, or debentures of, a company.
The words “inviting deposits from the public” were added by the Companies (Amendment) Act, 1974.
Features and Characteristics of Prospectus:
The features and characteristics of the prospectus are:
(i) It is a document issued as a prospectus;
(ii) It is an invitation to the member of the public;
(iii) The public is invited to subscribe to the shares or debentures of the company;
(iv) It includes any notice, circular, advertisement inviting deposits from the public;
(v) It is a document by which the company procures its share capital needed to carry on its activities.
Forms and Contents of the Prospectus:
Sec. 56 states that every prospectus must
i. State the matters specified in Part I of Schedule II, and
ii. Set out the reports specified in Part II of Schedule II.
What Information Does a Prospectus for an IPO Contain?
Part I of Schedule II—Matters to be Specified:
(a) The contents of the Memorandum:
It expresses the name of the company, objects, nature of business, share capital and its division, liability of members, names and addresses of the signatories and the number of shares subscribed by them.
(b) The qualification shares of the Directors:
If the Articles of the company provides that certain minimum number of shares to be possessed by the directors as qualification, in that case, a person shall not be qualified to act as a director unless he holds such number of shares.
(c) No. of redeemable preference shares:
Particulars regarding debentures and redeemable preference shares with their date of redemption must be stated.
(d) Remuneration of the Directors and Promoters:
The prospectus must contain the rate of remuneration for attending meetings and for other services of the Directors and Promoters.
(e) The names, descriptions and addresses of the Directors and Managing Directors:
The names, addresses, descriptions, occupations of the Directors, Managing Directors, Managers and the provisions regarding their appointment must be stated.
(f) The Minimum Subscription:
The minimum subscription on which the directors may proceed to allotment and the amount payable on application, allotment etc. on each share should also be stated in the prospectus.
(g) Time of opening:
The time of the opening of subscription list should also be stated.
(h) Names and Addresses:
The names and addresses of vendors, if any, and the mode of payment of purchase price and goodwill should also be contained in the prospectus.
(i) Underwriting Commission, Brokerage etc.:
The names of underwriters and the opinion of the directors regarding their financial position and business integrity should also be stated clearly.
(j) Names of the auditors with their addresses:
The reputation of the auditors is also an important factor necessary for public patronage.
(k) Particular of Contracts:
The dates of and parties to every material contract, and reasonable time and place of its inspection are also significant.
(l) Preliminary Expenses:
The estimated amount of preliminary expenses to be incurred should also be furnished.
(m) Particulars of Directors:
Full particulars of the nature and interest of every director or promoter in the promotion of or in the property proposed to be acquired by the company within two years with statement of all sums paid or agreed to be paid to him in cash or shares for service rendered.
Full disclosure on these matters should also be made in the prospectus.
(o) Expected rate of dividend and voting rights:
The rights of shareholders relating to voting, meeting and dividends along with the nature and extent of restrictions to be imposed by Articles on their right to transfer shares should also be stated in clear and convincing terms.
(p) Capitalisation of Profits and Surplus from revaluation of assets:
Capitalisation of profits/reserves of a company or if any of its subsidiaries have been capitalized (i.e.
issuing bonus shares)— particular of such capitalisation and also surplus, if any, assets from the revaluation of assets should also be stated.
Ipo prospectus of a company
(q) Inspection of Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss Account:
The following reports are to be annexed:
Part II of Schedule II— Reports to be set out:
(a) Report by the Auditor:
An audit report of the company relating to:
(i) Its profits .and losses, assets and liabilities,
(ii) The dividend paid by the company during the five financial years preceding the issue of prospectus should also be furnished.
(b) Report by the Accountant:
The accountant should also state a report relating to profits or losses and assets and liabilities on a date which must not be more than 120 days before the date of issue of the prospectus.
Mis-Statements in Prospectus:
Mis-statements and false statements in the prospectus are instruments by which dishonest company promoters may practice fraud on the public money.
In order to prevent this practice the law imposes certain duties and liabilities on those persons who are responsible for such issues.
If, however, the prospectus contains any mis-statement of a material fact or if the prospectus wants in any material fact, two types of liabilities will arise.
(1) Civil Liability
(2) Criminal Liability
Before discussing the above we are to know the liability which may arise for Untrue Statement. It is the duty of the authors of the prospectus to see that the prospectus does not contain any untrue statement which may mislead the public.
According to Sec. 65 of the Companies Act, Untrue Statement’ in connection with a prospectus shall deem to include:
(i) A statement which is misleading in the form and context in which it is included, and
(ii) An omission which is calculated to mislead.
In short, untrue statement means and includes any statement which is not only a false statement but also a statement which creates a wrong impression of actual fact.
Concealment of material fact is also treated as mis-statement or untrue statement.
Now we are going to highlight the civil and criminal liabilities that may appear due to mis-statement in the prospectus:
(1) Civil Liability:
Sec. 62(1) of the Companies Act states that such persons are liable to pay compensation for any loss or damage which any person may suffer from the purchase of any share or debenture on the basis of the untrue statement.
Consequently, a person who has suffered a loss may claim contribution from the others who were associated relating to issue of prospect until it appears that he was guilty of fraud while the others were not proved to be guilty.
(2) Criminal Liability:
According to Sec. 63(1) of the Companies Act, every person who has authorised the issue of a prospectus containing untrue statements shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to Rs.
Sec. 68 of the Companies Act provides that a person shall not, either knowingly or recklessly, by making any statement, promise or forecast which is false, deceptive or misleading or, by any dishonest concealment of material facts, induce or attempt to induce another person to enter into or to offer to enter into any
(i) agreement for acquiring, disposing-off, subscribing for or underwriting shares or debentures;
(ii) agreement, the purpose or pretended purpose of which is to secure a profit to any of the parties from the yield of shares or debentures, or by inference to fluctuations in the value of shares or debentures.
Otherwise, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 5 years or with fine which may extend to Rs. 10,000—or with both.
Persons who are liable for untrue statements in the prospectus:
According to Sec.
Interpreting a Company's IPO Prospectus Report
62 (1) of the Companies Act, the following persons are liable and punishable for untrue statements in the prospectus:
(a) Every person who is a director of the company at the time of the issue of the prospectus;
(b) Every person who has authorised himself to be named and is named in the prospectus either as a director or as having agreed to become a director, either immediately or after an interval of time;
(c) Every person who is a promoter of the company; and
(d) Every person who has authorised the issues of the prospectus.
Defence available in an action on the prospectus:
The parties against whom the proceeding have been taken for mis-statement in the prospectus may use certain pleas as their defence:
Defences against the Civil Liability:
According to Sec.
IPO - Initial Public Offering
62(2) of the Companies Act, no decree for damage shall be passed if the person charged can prove any one of the followings:
(a) Withdrawal of consent:
A person is not liable if he withdrew his consent before the issue of the prospectus.
(b) Issue without knowledge and consent:
If the person can prove that the prospectus was issued without his knowledge or consent and, after becoming aware of its issues, he gave public notice that the same was issued without his knowledge and consent.
(c) Statement of an expert:
If the statement which is alleged to be untrue purports to be a statement of an expert or a copy or of a valuation report of an expert, the person charged can be discharged from his liability if he can prove:
(i) It is a fair and correct copy or representation or extract of the expert’s statement;
(ii) He had reasonable grounds to believe;
(iii) The expert had given his consent to the issue of the prospectus;
(iv) The expert had not withdrawn his consent before registration.
(d) True Statement:
The person charged can escape from his liability if he can prove that he had reasonable ground to believe and did, up to the time of the allotment of shares or debentures, believe that the statement was true.
2. Defences available to an expert:
Sec. 62(4) states that an expert whose opinion was included in the prospectus can use the following as defence:
(a) Withdrawal of consent:
After giving consent, he withdrew it in writing before delivery of a copy of the prospectus for registration.
(b) Knowledge of untrue statement:
If the person, on becoming aware of the untrue statement, withdrew his consent in writing and gave public notice with reasons thereof, after delivery of the copy of the prospectus to and before allotment.
(c) True statement:
He was competent to make such statement and he had reasonable grounds to believe and did up to the time of the allotment of shares and debentures, believe that the statement was true.
Initial Public Offering (IPO)
Defense’s against Criminal Liability:
Sec. 63(1) states that a person charged in a criminal court will be acquitted if he can prove any one of the following:
(a) That the statement was immaterial, or
(b) That he had reasonable grounds to believe and did, up to the time of the issue of the prospectus, believe that the statement was true.
Statement In Lieu of Prospectus:
If a public company does not invite the public to subscribe for its shares but acquires to have money from private sources it may not issue a prospectus.
In the circumstances, the promoters are required to prepare a draft prospectus which is known as ‘Statement in lieu of Prospectus’ which must contain the information required to be disclosed by Schedule III of the Act.
Sec. 70(1) states that a company having a share capital which does not issue a prospectus shall not allot any of its shares or debentures unless at least 3 days before the allotment of shares or debentures there has been delivered to the Registrar for registration a statement in lieu of prospectus.
The statement shall be signed by every person who is named therein as a director or proposed director of the company or by his authorised agent in writing.
What Is a Prospectus?
It shall be in the form and contain particulars set out in Schedule III of the Act.
Sec. 70(4) lays down that, in contravention of Sec. 70(1), the company and every director of the company, who wilfully authorizes or permits the contravention shall be punishable with fine which may extent to Rs.
Similarly Sec. 70(5) also states that where the statement in lieu of prospectus contains any untrue statement, the persons responsible, for the issue thereof, may be punished by imprisonment which may extend to 2 years or with fine which may extend to Rs.
5,000, or with both.
Red Herring Prospectus:
A Red Herring Prospectus is a document which is submitted by an issuer company who intents to have public offerings of securities (i.e.; stock or bonds). It is associated with an Initial Public Offering (IPO).
Company Prospectus: Features, Contents and Mismatch
It must be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The term Red herring comes from the tradition where young hunting dogs in Great Britain were trained in order to follow a scent by the use of ‘Red’ (i.e.
salted and smoked) herring (i.e., kipper).
It is interesting to note that this pungent fish would be dragged across a trail until the puppy learned to follow the scent. But the term is used in prospectus simply due to disclosure statement which is printed in red ink on the cover which clearly states that the issuing company is not attempting to sell its shares.
How a Prospectus Works (With Example)
Contents of Red Herring Prospectus:
The Red Herring prospectus contains:
(a) Purpose of the issue;
(b) Proposed offering Price Range;
(c) Promotion expenses;
(d) Copy of the underwriting agreement;
(e) Underwriter’s commission and discount;
(f) Disclosure of any option agreement;
(g) Balance Sheet;
(h) Net proceeds to the issuing company;
(i) Earning statement for .last three years;
(j) Legal option on the issue;
(k) Copies of the Articles of Incorporation of the issuer; and
(l) Names and addresses of all offices, underwriters, directors and stockholders owning 10% or more of the existing outstanding stock.
Commencement of Business:
A private company or a company having no share capital can commence business immediately after its incorporation i.e. once it has received its certificate of incorporation, nothing is required further. But a public company having share capital has to obtain a certificate which is called a trading certificate or a certificate to commence business from the Registrar before it can comment business.
The company must comply with the provisions of Sec. 149(1) in order to obtain it.
Sec. 149(1) lays down that if a company has issued a prospectus, it must not commence its business unless
(i) The minimum subscription has been raised;
(ii) Every director has paid to the company on any shares he has taken up on application and allotment;
(iii) No money is repayable for failure to obtain stock exchange recognition for the shares, where such recognition was promised;
(iv) Declaration made by a director or the secretary to the Registrar stating the fact that the above requirements have been duly complied with.
What Is an IPO (Initial Public Offering)?
Sec. 149(2) lays down that if the company has hot issued a prospectus, it must not commence business unless
(i) It has filed with the registrar statement in lieu of prospectus;
(ii) Every director has paid the money due from him;
(iii) A declaration made by a director or the secretary to the Registrar stating the fact that the above conditions have been satisfied.
If the foregoing conditions have duly been complied with the Registrar, he will certify that the company is entitled to commence business and it is exclusive evidence that the company is now entitled to commence business.
If any company commences business before obtaining the certificate of commencement of business, i.e. in contravention of Sec. 149, every person responsible for doing this is liable to a fine up to Rs.
500 for every day.