SEBI modifies rating withdrawal norms for CRAs

New Delhi: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Friday tightened the noose around the corporates, saying if companies are not cooperating with credit rating agencies (CRAs) on disclosure of loan defaults, then the latter should issue INC (Issuer not cooperating) ratings.

“If an issuer has all the outstanding ratings as non-cooperative for more than six months, then the CRA shall downgrade the rating assigned to the instrument of such issuer to non-investment grade with INC status. If non-cooperation by the issuer continues for further six months from the date of the downgrade to non-investment grade, no CRA shall assign any new ratings to such issuer until the issuer resumes cooperation or the rating is withdraw,” the market regulator said in a circular.

Last year in November, Sebi had mandated listed companies to make public disclosure on stock exchanges about default in payment of interest obligations on loans, including revolving facilities like cash credit from banks or financial institutions beyond 30 days.

Companies are also required to disclose default in case of unlisted debt securities such as non-convertible debentures within 24 hours from the occurrence of default.

The regulator said in case of multiple ratings on an instrument, where there is no regulatory mandate for multiple ratings, a CRA should withdraw a rating earlier provided the CRA has rated the instrument continuously for three years or 50 percent of the tenure of the instrument, whichever is higher and received a no-objection certificate from 75 percent of bondholders of the outstanding debt for withdrawal of rating.


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