Red Herring Prospectus (RHP)

Unlocking the nuances of the red herring prospectus is pivotal for investors looking to invest their money in Initial Public Offerings (IPOs). Often shrouded in complexity, this document can be the key to comprehending a company’s financial health, business model, and investment risk.

What is the Red Herring Prospectus (RHP)?

Diving into the concept of what a red herring prospectus is, one encounters a document that is essentially a preliminary prospectus submitted by a company as part of its IPO process. 

The red herring prospectus, or RHP, does not contain details regarding the quantity or price of the offered shares. Instead, it encompasses extensive information about the company’s business operations, financial condition, and intended use of the IPO proceeds. It becomes an indispensable tool for potential investors to evaluate the viability of investing in the issuing company.

Moreover, the red herring prospectus provides a detailed insight into the company’s strategies and future prospects, highlighting any potential risks and regulatory concerns that might impact the company’s performance and, by extension, its share value.

In this context, it’s crucial to note the term ‘ market capitalisation ‘ or market cap, which signifies the total market value of a company’s outstanding shares of stock. It is calculated by multiplying the company’s shares outstanding by the current market price of one share. 

The market cap provides a snapshot of a company’s size. It is often utilised to compare the relative size of companies in indices or sectors.

On the other hand, the draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) is submitted to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and to the stock exchanges where the company intends to list its shares. 

The DRHP is subject to thorough scrutiny by SEBI, which may recommend modifications or seek additional disclosures. The final red herring prospectus can be filed Only after receiving SEBI’s approval and the Initial Public Offering (IPO) price is determined.

When discussing the red herring IPO, it’s pertinent to understand that it refers to when an RHP is issued and the IPO is yet to be launched. The company cannot sell shares or accept buying offers during this phase. 

The red herring IPO period is crucial for the company and potential investors to engage in discussions, presentations, and other communications mediums to understand the offering and gauge market interest better.

Working of RHP

Understanding the working mechanism of a Red Herring Prospectus involves a dive into the intricate processes of IPO preparations and regulatory compliances.

  • Drafting and Submission

    The journey commences with the drafting of the draft red herring prospectus, a detailed document that contains the company’s financial health, business strategies, risk factors, legal involvements, and intended utilisation of funds procured through the IPO.

  • Regulatory Scrutiny

    Upon drafting, it is submitted to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for meticulous scrutiny. SEBI evaluates the document for its accuracy, comprehensiveness, and adherence to the regulatory norms, ensuring that all requisite information is transparently communicated to the potential investors.

  • Revisions and Finalisation

    Post submission, the DRHP may be subjected to revisions based on recommendations or mandatory alterations proposed by SEBI. The revisions are vital to ensure that the final RHP lacks discrepancies and represents a transparent image of the company’s standing and strategies.

  • Issuance of RHP

    Once the prospectus is approved by SEBI, the final red herring prospectus is issued, albeit without the specifics of the price or the number of shares to be issued. It, however, offers a detailed view of the company’s operations and finances, acting as a comprehensive guide for investors.

Where Can You Access RHP?

Accessing a Red Herring Prospectus is crucial for investors to make informed decisions, and it can be obtained through various platforms.

  • Company’s Official Website

    Companies are mandated to present their RHP on their official websites, ensuring that potential investors have direct and unobstructed access to this vital document.

  • SEBI’s Official Website

    The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) also hosts all approved RHPs on its official website, serving as a reliable and comprehensive repository of all upcoming IPOs.

  • Stock Exchanges

    The websites of stock exchanges where the IPO is intended to be listed also provide access to the prospectus, providing a platform for investors to explore and analyse the upcoming offerings.

  • Investment Platforms

    Online investment platforms and brokerages also furnish the RHPs of upcoming IPOs, often paired with additional resources to aid investors in their decision-making process.

Advantages of RHP

The Red Herring Prospectus is not merely a document but a robust tool that accrues numerous advantages for various stakeholders in the financial market, especially potential investors.

  • Transparent Disclosure

    The prospectus mandates companies to lay bare their operational, financial, and legal standings, ensuring transparent disclosure of all crucial information that could influence an investment decision.

  • Risk Evaluation

    By presenting the potential risks and concerns related to the investment, the RHP facilitates investors in conducting a thorough risk assessment, enabling them to devise a well-informed investment strategy.

  • Investment Suitability

    Through detailed insights into the company’s business model, objectives, and financial strategies provided in the RHP, investors can ascertain the suitability of the investment in alignment with their financial goals and risk appetite.

  • Legal Compliance and Security

    The stringent regulations by SEBI ensure that the document adheres to all legal and statutory compliances, offering the investors a layer of security and reliability.

  • Informed Decision Making

    The extensive information given in the RHP provides a solid foundation for investors to make informed and reasonable decisions, navigating through the myriad of investment avenues available in the market.

  • Business Insight

    For market analysts and competitors, the prospectus provides valuable insights into the issuing company’s business strategies and operational methodologies, enriching the market knowledge and fostering a competitive environment.

How is RHP Important to Investors?

The relevance of a Red Herring Prospectus for an investor stretches across various facets of investment decision-making, shaping a pathway towards informed and rational investment choices in the stock market .

  • In-depth Company Insight

    One of the main advantages of the RHP is its profound insight into the company’s operational and financial status. It details the company’s earnings, expenses, net profit, and financial metrics that shed light on its economic health. 

  • Risk Assessment

    Navigating through the investment world must contain prudent risk management. The RHP extensively details the potential risks and challenges that the company might face. Whether operational risks, regulatory challenges, or market-related vulnerabilities, the prospectus provides a comprehensive overview, enabling investors to make risk-averse and strategically sound investment decisions.

  • Recommended Read: Difference between Risk Capacity and Risk Tolerance

  • Investment Strategy Formulation

    Creating a powerful investment strategy necessitates synthesising diverse information sources, with the RHP serving as a valuable resource. By furnishing comprehensive insights into a company’s operations, finances, and strategies, it empowers investors to construct a resilient investment plan that matches their financial goals and risk tolerance.

Why Should Companies Go for RHP?

The intricacies of why companies should opt for RHP entail regulatory compliance with strategic advantages.

Firstly, the RHP is a testament to transparency and integrity, providing potential investors with a detailed view of the company’s operations, financial health, strategic initiatives, and inherent risk factors. The detailed disclosures safeguard investors’ interests, ensuring they are aptly informed and not misled.

Moreover, the RHP plays a crucial role in gauging and cultivating investor interest during the red herring IPO phase. It enables companies to present a robust narrative, outlining their growth trajectory, future strategies, and how the raised capital will be utilised to fuel future endeavours. 

This becomes integral in building a positive pre-IPO sentiment, creating a constructive dialogue between the company and potential investors, and offering insights into market reception and expectations.

Compliance is another keystone as to why companies should navigate through RHP. Adhering to the stringent regulatory standards set by SEBI not only ensures that the IPO process is in alignment with legal and statutory frameworks but also amplifies the company’s credibility in the public domain.


The Red Herring Prospectus serves as a beacon of transparency and credibility, shedding light on the financial journey for companies and investors. It embodies strategic compliance, providing essential guidance from the pre-IPO phase to stock exchange listing. With accurate information, the RHP ensures that this path is navigated with knowledge, foresight, and unwavering integrity, fostering trust and confidence in the investment process.

Frequently Asked Questions