Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan approves Commercial Papers’ Regulations

Islamabad, December 10, 2013 (PPI-OT): The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) after due consultation with the stakeholders has approved the Issue of Commercial Papers’ Regulations, 2013.

The draft regulations were earlier published in the Official Gazette vide notification No. S.R.O. 71(I)/2013 dated February 4, 2013, to seek public comments. The regulations are aimed at facilitating highly-rated companies to raise funds from the capital market to meet their short-term financial needs through issuance of Commercial Papers (CPs), to provide the investors an additional financial product and to develop and broaden the domestic debt market.

The CP is an unsecured short-term debt instrument issued by corporates at a certain discount to its face value normally for meeting working capital requirements. The regulations have replaced the Guidelines for the Issue of Commercial Papers issued in 2002 by the SECP.

In addition to certain prerequisite conditions, the regulations provide a set of procedures for issue of CPs. The regulations require the CP issuer to be authorized by its Memorandum and Articles of Association or other constitutive document, if different from the Memorandum and Articles of Association that its equity is not less than Rs25 million, it is rated by a credit rating agency (CRA), with rating no less than A- (long term) and A2 (short term), and it has appointed a scheduled bank, an investment finance company or a development finance institution as an issuing and paying agent (IPA).

The regulations describe role and responsibilities of the issuer, the CRA and IPA. Under the regulations, the IPA has been given a key role. The regulations allow and encourage the issue of CPs under the shelf registration arrangement. Under the regulations, CPs can be issued only in dematerialized form, i.e. electronic form, therefore, the issuers shall seek eligibility of their CPs through the Central Depository System.

Under the regulations, the CPs can be issued with a maturity of not less than 30 days and not more than one year. The size of the issue of a CP shall not be less than Rs10 million. Being short-term instruments, the CPs are normally issued to the institutional investors through private placement, however, may be issued to retail investors through public offer.

In case of public offer, approval of the SECP is required whereas in case of private placement no such approval is necessary. The regulations require that in case of private placement CP shall be issued only to the qualified institutional buyers (QIBs) as defined therein.

A sizeable CP market serves as an anchor for the corporate bond market of a country. So far, as many as 34 issues of CPs have been floated by various corporates for an aggregate amount of Rs16.15 billion. It is hoped that with the promulgation of the regulations, the CP market will further flourish.

The regulations are available on the website of SECP at www.secp.gov.pk/notification/pdf/2013/S.R.O_1036_CP-regulations_20131204.pdf.

Tickers:

1. The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) after due consultation with the stakeholders has approved the Issue of Commercial Papers’ Regulations, 2013.

2. The regulations are aimed at facilitating highly-rated companies to raise funds from the capital market to meet their short-term financial needs.

3. The size of the issue of a CP shall not be less than Rs10 million

For more information, contact:
Shakil Ahmad Chaudhary
Head, Internal and External Communication
Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP)
NIC Building, 63 Jinnah Avenue, Islamabad
Tel: +9251 921 4005 or 921 4009 (Ext. 378)
Fax: +9251 920 6459
Cell: +92302 855 2254
E-mail: shakil.chaudhary@secp.gov.pk

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