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        Rights Issue
What’s a rights issue?
A Rights Issue is a way by which a listed company can raise additional capital. However, instead of going to the public, the company gives its existing shareholders the right to subscribe to newly issued shares in proportion to their existing holdings. For example, 1:4 rights issue means an existing investor can buy one extra share for every four shares already held by him/her. Usually the price at which the new shares are issued by way of rights issue is less than the prevailing market price of the stock, i.e. the shares are offered at a discount.
Why does a company go for it?
The basic idea is to raise fresh capital. A rights issue is not a common practice that a corporate organisation resorts to. Ideally, such an issue occurs when a company needs funds for corporate expansion or a large takeover. At the same time, however, companies also use rights issue to prevent themselves from being conked out. Since a rights issue results in higher equity base for the organisation, it also provides it with better leveraging opportunities. The company becomes more comfortable when it comes to raising debt in the future as its debt-to-equity ratio reduces.

What is the effect on the company and what if a shareholder does not exercise his right?
A rights issue affects two important elements of a company - equity capital and market capitalisation. In case of a rights issue, since additional equity is raised, the issuing company’s equity base rises to the extent of the issue. The effect on m-cap depends on the perception of the market. In theory, every new issue has some kind of diluting effect and hence as a result of a fall in the market price in proportion to an increase in the number of shares, the market capitalisation remains unaffected.
However, if the market sentiment believes that the funds are being raised for an extremely positive purpose then price of the stock may just rise resulting in an increase in the market capitalisation. If a shareholder does not want to exercise the right to buy additional shares then he/she can sell the right as the rights are usually tradable. Alternatively, investors can just let the rights issue lapse.
What should an investor be careful about in case of a rights issue?
An investor should be able to look beyond the discount offered. Rights issue is different from bonus issue as one is paying money to get additional shares and hence one should subscribe to it only if he/she is completely sure of the company’s performance. Also, one must not take up the rights if the share price has fallen below the subscription price as it may be cheaper to buy the shares in the open market.

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