Offer For Sale (OFS) – Process Explained

This post is written by Shiv Kukreja, who is a Certified Financial Planner and runs a financial planning firm, Ojas Capital in Delhi/NCR. He can be reached at skukreja@investitude.co.in

A few days ago when the CARE IPO was about to get opened, Rakesh got confused about the “Offer for Sale” process through which the share sale was to happen. He wanted to know whether the procedure to apply for CARE shares was to be same like normal IPO or something different.

To know more about it, TCB asked me to share the process details.

TCB
December 19, 2012 at 7:50 am
Dear Shiv,Can you please give details about the procedure for Offer For Sale (OFS) of Hindustan Copper, ONGC, NMDC etc. ? As you correctly said, this OFS is different from CARE Offer For Sale.I would like to know details like how to apply, how & when to pay, how & when is allotment done, what is the meaning of terminologies like indicative price, during the offer from where can we monitor the quantity and price of bids received etc.Thanks

Here is my attempt to let people understand the Offer for Sale process. Please leave your comments in case I miss something or you find any discrepancy in the post.

Poor economic growth causes poor investment sentiment which results in poor market conditions and thus forces corporates to cost cutting. In another attempt to save some unnecessary costs and to reduce the time taken to raise money, SEBI has introduced a new process called Offer for Sale (OFS).

Offer for Sale is getting really popular with the companies and as many as eight companies, like NMDC, Hindustan Copper, Eros International, Blue Dart, Honeywell Automation etc., have taken this route to either raise money from the markets or to increase non-promoter shareholding in order to comply with the minimum public shareholding guidelines.

What is “Offer for Sale” and can retail investors participate in the process?

Offer for Sale (OFS) is another form of share sale, very much similar to Follow-On Public Offer (FPO). OFS mechanism facilitates the promoters of an already listed company to sell or dilute their existing shareholdings through an exchange based bidding platform.

Except the promoters of the company, all market participants like individuals, mutual funds, foreign institutional investors (FIIs), insurance companies, corporates, other qualified institutional bidders (QIBs), HUFs etc. can bid/participate in the OFS process or buy the shares. The promoters of the company can only participate as the sellers in the process.

OFS Process

First of all, very basic, you need to compulsorily have a demat/trading account(s) and permanent account number (PAN) to participate in an Offer for Sale. The sellers are required to deposit the offered shares with the exchange before 11.00 a.m. on T–1 day, where ‘T’ is the day of OFS.

Once the OFS starts, you can participate in the process yourself using your online trading accounts like ICICI Direct, Kotak Securities etc. by placing your bids under the ‘OFS’ section of their respective broking websites.

Investors, who do not have online trading accounts, can place their bids by directing the dealer of their broking company to do it on their behalf. You can modify or cancel your bids during the offer timings except in the last 60 minutes i.e. till 2:30 p.m.

The exchange will announce the “Indicative Price” only during the last 60 minutes of the OFS. Indicative Price is the volume weighted average price of all the valid/confirmed bids. e.g. There are total 1000 shares in an offer for sale with Rs. 200 as the floor price. If the investors bid for 200 shares at Rs. 210 and 800 shares at Rs. 200, the indicative price for the offer would be [(200*210)+(800*200)]/1000 = Rs. 202.

No leverage is provided to the investors against the stock margin available in the trading accounts and thus, they are required to deposit 100% of the order value in cash to bid for it. Also, the funds allocated for OFS cannot be utilised for other investment purposes or against any other obligation of the trading member.

Once the bidding gets over, allotment price is fixed and allocation is done. The successful bidders will be allotted shares directly into their demat account on T+1 basis the very next day. In case of partial allotment or no allotment, the refunds will be made on the same day itself. This makes the OFS process really fast, just like buying shares of the company from the open market.

During the offer timings or once the offer gets completed, you can monitor the quantity and price of bids received etc. from this link of NSE, like it has the details of the OFS of Eros International Media Limited which got concluded on December 20th.

Allocation Methodology and Contract Notes

The companies can adopt one of the two methodologies for allocating the shares on offer i.e. either on a price-priority basis at multiple clearing prices or on a proportionate basis at a single clearing price.

Like you get the contract notes by the evening of the trading day on which you buy shares of a company, you’ll get a contract note in the same format when you buy shares in an OFS. Contract note will have the details of your bid price and the quantity allotted in the specified format.

What differentiates Offer for Sale (OFS) process from IPOs/FPOs?

Physical Application: Unlike IPOs/FPOs, no physical application forms are issued to apply for shares in the OFS process. OFS process is completely platform based.

Time Period: While IPOs/FPOs remain open for 3-4 days, OFS gets over in a single trading day as the markets gets closed for trading at 3:30 p.m.

Price Band: Under IPOs/FPOs, there is a price band in which the investors need to bid for the shares or simply give their consent to buy the shares at the “Cut-Off” price. With OFS, there is a “Floor Price”. As the name suggests, it is the minimum price at which you can bid for the shares under OFS. You will not be able to place an order below the floor price as it will not be accepted by the system.

Though it is not mandatory to disclose the floor price before the issue opens, the promoters usually disclose it prior to the share sale in almost all of the issues. Alternatively, the promoters can submit the floor price in a sealed envelope to the exchange which will be disclosed post closure of the offer. In case the floor price is not disclosed to the public, the investors can place their bids at any price they want.

Charges: Investors are not required to pay any kind of charges over and above the ‘Fixed Price’ in an IPO or FPO. But, the OFS process involve certain transaction charges including the brokerage, Securities Transaction Tax (STT) and other charges, which the investors normally pay when they buy shares of a company in the cash market.

On the OFS day, normal trading in the shares of the company will continue even when the bidding process is ‘ON’. The investors have the option to either buy the shares of the company in the normal market or place their bids for the shares on sale in the OFS. The investors can place only ‘Limit’ orders under the OFS facility as ‘Market’ orders are not allowed.

OFS process has the following advantages over FPOs/IPOs:

Cost effective: I think this is the biggest reason for the promoters to sell their stake through the OFS route. OFS route involves very less formalities. Unlike IPOs/FPOs, the promoters of the issue under OFS are not required to file Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP). Also, there is no need to get the application forms printed. It also saves big advertisement expenses.

Saves Time: This route involves sale of shares in a single trading day and that too, during the normal trading hours i.e. between 9:15 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. The promoters can announce their intention of share sale even one trading day prior to the opening of the offer.

Transparency: Retail investors have suffered losses in the past due to manipulation in IPO/FPO allotment. OFS process is quite transparent as it is done on real-time basis with a system based bidding platform and involves least amount of paperwork.

Multiple Orders: Under OFS, there is no restriction on number of bids from a single buyer. This facility is not available in FPOs/IPOs.

The formats are changing rapidly. One-day cricket is fast losing its appeal to T-20 matches. Similarly, 3-4 days long FPOs are getting replaced by these single-trading day Offers for Sale. Very few people read the DRHP or printed details on application forms while investing. So, in a way, these OFS will reduce the issue costs to a large extent. But, will the investors be able to make wise investment decisions in these OFS? Just wait and watch.

117 thoughts on “Offer For Sale (OFS) – Process Explained”

  1. dear sir,
    thanks for making me out of confusion about allotment of OFS. now i want to know, how the govt valued the MMTC share at very low price while it was marketed at about 200/per shere. and if the real price is about 6o, how a retail investor calculate the real price of a share.
    i think there is big confusion about true price and CMP of the shere

    1. Dear Kumar,
      It is the job of the Merchant Bankers to calculate the fair value of the OFS shares and advise the govt (or other promoters) to fix the offer price close enough to get a reasonable price to the promoters and get the offer successfully concluded. For a retail investor, the process to calculate the fair price is the same as it is with other traded stocks, which I think is a quite difficult job for a layman. MMTC once used to trade at around Rs. 39000 per share (Rs. 1965 per share post-split 1:10 & post-bonus 1:1) and now the OFS has been fixed @ Rs. 60 per share. A very high unrealistic market price is due to a very low floating stock and who knows if it is still overvalued @ Rs. 60 and what is its actual fair value ??

  2. Dear Shiv

    This was a very informative article which clarifies the most of the doubts but I still have following queries.
    A. Can a bidder put offer price below the floor price.
    B. When indicative price is more than the floor price & the issue is subscribe for more than 1 times the offer. Can promoters cancel OFS?
    C. If the issue is subscribed say X times then will the allotees gets the proportional shares or allotment process starts from higher price & gets full nos. of shares applied & then the next till no. of shares equals the offered shares.

    1. Thanks Sameer for your kind words!

      Here are the answers to your queries:
      A. A bid cannot be placed below the floor price.
      B. No, it cannot happen. Why would the promoters do that?
      C. If the promoters decide to adopt the “Multiple Price” option, then the allotment process starts from the higher price & goes on till the shares on offer get exhausted.

  3. Shive, your responses are crisp and very clear. I have a doubt, I had bid for 100 shares at Rs 60/- and 500 shares at Rs 100/-. How am I allocated and at what rate?

    1. Hi Ramesh,
      Though I’m not the Registrar of the company and hence cannot be 100% sure about it, but I think you will get 500 shares allotted @ Rs. 100 and proportionate allotment @ Rs. 60. You can access the full details of your allotment from your contract note of the OFS.

  4. Dear Shiv, Thanks for such a wonderful and detailed article. But, I have a query, Is the indicative price available during the OFS time limit also( i.e.between 09:15 to 3:30pm) or it is provided only after OFS closes.
    Also, if it is provided during OFS time, at what time intervals it gets refreshed??

    1. Hi Gaurav, thanks for your motivating words!
      Earlier, in an OFS, the Indicative Price was disclosed only during the last 60 minutes of the trading session. But, now it gets disclosed throughout the trading session.
      Also, I am not sure how frequently the indicative price gets refreshed, but I think it is 15 minutes or 30 minutes.

  5. Hi Shiv,

    Really appreciate your effort to post this article.

    However I need your help to know the expected floor price of Coal India Ltd as you mentioned it is based on merchant bankers but still how much you expect the floor price to be?

    Thanks once again.

  6. Sir, Wonderful detail got understood too many thing. My one query is if changing indicative price can be seen on exchange after every 30 minute can I change my offer values in bid. Is there any other way like cut off by which small investor can apply?

    1. Hi Tejas,
      You can modify or cancel your bids during the offer timings except in the last 60 minutes i.e. till 2:30 p.m. Also, SEBI has recommended to introduce the “Cut-Off” price for the retail investors, but it is yet to be implemented in an OFS.

  7. Hi shiv sir,
    its a superb article on OFS. i have one query. like, retailers can buy using client codes. now for each client code one needs to submit the fund of 2 lacs and more than 2 lacs is not allowed. But you have mentioned there is no restriction on number of bids from a single buyer.eg sail OFS floor price is 83, for retailers 5% discounted price is 79. now if i buy in client code, i need to submit 2 lacs and can place buy bids amounting to 2 lacs, and not more than that.

  8. Shiv,

    If I win a bid in OFS, I should get shares in my demat account on T+1. Will I be able to sell them on T+1? Or do I have to wait till T+2 to sell.

    Am confused because am not sure if allotment of shares post market hours on T+1 is also considered T+1.

    1. Hi Aniruddh,
      Government hasn’t announced the floor price as well as the discount for the retail investors in the Coal India OFS. So, let us have both these price sensitive info with us and only then we’ll be able to express our views.

  9. Any one knows whether India Infoline or ICICI direct provide online OFS application? For Coal India OFS when will the shares get credited in account? Can we sell on Monday?

    1. Hi Shashwat,
      You can sell your stock holdings whenever you get the allotment. But, sometimes the allotment gets delayed, like it happened during the SAIL OFS and the investors got stuck. With Coal India, the allotment should happen either on Monday or Tuesday.

  10. How this 5% discount works?

    is it given only for cut-off or the actual price of buying will be 5% less than I have bid for?

    Say I bid for 359 and normal cut off is 360. at what price allocation happens?

              1. One more query what if they did not get bid for volume of shares in offer.

                Will they decide to sell on whatever price quoted?. I know they can completely cancel the OFS also

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