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SEBI-Company Law Board face off
April, 16th 2010

The government may take a fresh look, at allowing corporates to issue shares with differential voting rights bearing higher votes than normal shares.

Sources have told Media that the finance ministry may constitute an expert panel to assess the feasibility of reintroduction of superior voting right shares.

One option being considered is to put in place strict riders for the issue of such shares by companies where the promoter holdings are low.

The challenge for the government, however, is to resolve the conflict between two regulatory bodies the Company Law Board and SEBI.

With the company law board favouring the move and SEBI opposing reintroduction after imposing a ban on issue of superior voting rights shares to protect minority shares from misuse of the instrument by promoters.

Market watchers say that they have been seeing an increased interest among corporates for DVRs.

It is a very useful instrument for companies having small promoter holding, as it helps them tackle attempts of hostile takeover, said Hemang Jani, senior vice president at Sharekhan.

In the past however, the instrument has not generated much interest among investors.

Just before SEBI imposed a ban on the instrument, Tata Motors annd Pantaloon had hit the market with DVR issues, but could not generate much investor interest.

It needs to be seen how corporate houses try to attract investor interest in DVRs, if they are allowed to access the instrument once again.

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