Both profit & loss-making firms can list; welcome IPOs of unconventional biz models: Sebi official
In remarks that come amid stock market debut of food delivery app Zomato and proposed IPO of Paytm, a senior Sebi official on Wednesday said both profit and loss-making companies can come on exchanges, and entities with "unconventional business models" listing bodes well for the startups ecosystem.
It is also interesting to see how the discourse has changed to listing in India rather than listing abroad, Sebi's executive director Amarjeet Singh said, speaking at a conference organized by industry lobby Ficci.
The remarks came days after the over Rs 9,300-crore initial public offering of Zomato, and reports of Paytm looking to follow up with a Rs 16,600-crore share sale.
I believe our listing landscape is set to undergo important shifts with listings of tech companies, having unconventional business models. Successful IPOs of such companies will contribute to the ecosystem of entrepreneurs and investors in the startup sectors, Singh said.
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Amid concerns raised in some quarters about the profitability of such companies, Singh made it clear that the regulator's mainboard framework allows for both profit-making as well as those incurring losses to list.
He admitted that new IPOs are being used as exit opportunities for existing investors rather than raising fresh capital, but unlike the West, the good news for India is that the number of listed companies are rising, he said.
As the regulator, among the biggest challenges faced by Sebi is balancing between capital raising by companies with investor protection, Singh said, adding that this has to be grappled with at a time when companies are choosing to remain private and not list, which entails compliance issues.
Another difficulty is how to structure regulation for driving entrepreneurship, innovation and expansion, so that the entrepreneurs can convert their innovation, can achieve their commercial vision and deliver to the social good, he said.
Sebi has evolved a range of regulatory structures to facilitate capital raising in a pre-listing phase and AIFs (alternate investment funds) are playing an increasingly important role, he said.
Last year, AIFs, private equity and venture capital funds invested over Rs 5 lakh crore in Indian companies, and the last seven years to March 21 have seen a 67-times growth in cumulative investments by AIFs which have now gone up to Rs 2 trillion from Rs 30 billion in the time period, he said.