Indian Depository Receipt – A Basic Guide

In the Indian financial landscape, the Indian Depository Receipt (IDR) is a key tool that’s been catching the eye for a while now. Introduced back in 2004 by SEBI, IDR offers a route for domestic companies to tap into the international markets by listing their shares on global stock exchanges.

It’s not just about capital; it’s a way for these businesses to mark their global presence. And what’s in for foreign investors? Well, it’s a gateway to get a slice of the Indian market. As we move ahead, we’ll unwrap the layers of IDRs, diving deep into their characteristics, the perks they bring, and their operational nuances.

What are Indian Depository Receipts?

IDRs are financial instruments that facilitate listing Indian companies on international stock exchanges. They allow Indian companies to raise capital in foreign markets and allow foreign investors to invest in the Indian market.

IDRs are issued by a domestic depository on behalf of the issuing company, which is listed on a foreign stock exchange. Each IDR represents a certain number of underlying shares of the issuing company, whose value is derived from those shares.

These receipts are denominated in Indian rupees and can be traded on international stock exchanges, making it easier for foreign investors to access the Indian market without dealing with currency conversions. IDRs also provide Indian companies with an alternative source of capital, reducing their dependence on domestic markets for funding.


Companies and investors should know certain eligibility details and key considerations before venturing into IDRs.

Firstly, to issue IDRs, a company must be listed on an Indian stock exchange and comply with the applicable laws and regulations. Additionally, the company must have a track record of profitability and must not be in default of any regulatory requirements.

Another crucial consideration is the minimum subscription requirement, which is the minimum number of shares that must be subscribed to by a single investor. This requirement differs for each company and is determined by factors such as the company’s market capitalisation and the price of the underlying shares.

It is important for investors to carefully review these eligibility details and key considerations before deciding to invest in Indian Depository Receipts.

IDR Issue Process: Everything to Know

The IDR issue process involves multiple steps and regulations that must be followed by Indian companies looking to raise capital through IDRs. It begins with the company meeting eligibility criteria, such as being listed on an Indian stock exchange and complying with regulations set by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

Once these criteria are met, the company can issue IDRs, essentially financial instruments representing ownership of underlying securities, such as shares of the Indian company. To ensure transparency and protect investors, the IDR issue process involves thorough due diligence, including obtaining credit ratings and preparing offer documents.

These documents provide important information for potential investors, such as the company’s financials, management structure, and risk factors. Once the IDRs are issued, they are listed on the stock exchange, and investors can trade them like regular shares.

The IDR issue process is well-regulated and structured, providing a convenient and regulated way for Indian companies to raise capital and expand globally.

Taxation and Equity Shares

When considering investing in Indian Depository Receipts (IDRs), understand the tax implications and how they affect equity shares.

Firstly, note that IDRs are considered foreign investments in India and, therefore, are subject to foreign direct investment (FDI) regulations and guidelines. This means that the tax treatment for IDRs is similar to that of FDI, with applicable withholding taxes on dividends and capital gains.

Investors should also be aware of the “tax-sparing” concept of IDRs. This refers to the possibility of a tax credit being granted to investors for taxes not actually paid by the company issuing the IDRs.

This can result in a lower tax burden for investors and is something to consider when evaluating the potential returns from IDRs. Consult with a tax advisor to fully understand the implications and benefits of tax exemptions concerning IDRs.

Furthermore, investors should also be mindful of the risks associated with IDRs, such as currency fluctuations and political instability in the country of the underlying company. Thoroughly research and understand the company issuing the IDR before making investment decisions.

Intermediaries Involved in the Issuance of IDRs and Key Players in the IDR Market

Investing in IDR involves several intermediaries in the issuance process. The first intermediary is the Indian company which wishes to raise funds through IDRs.

They appoint a lead manager, usually a merchant banker registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The lead manager is responsible for preparing and filing the prospectus with the SEBI for approval. They also coordinate with other intermediaries, such as underwriters, registrars, custodians, and depository participants, to facilitate the issuance of IDRs.

In the IDR market, the key players include depository participants, depositories, and the custodian. Depository participants are entities registered with the SEBI who act as intermediaries between the depository and investors.

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They facilitate the opening of depository accounts for investors and provide services such as buying and selling IDRs on their behalf. Depositories, on the other hand, are institutions responsible for holding and maintaining records of IDRs in electronic form.

The custodian, usually a bank or a financial institution, holds the underlying shares of the Indian company and issues IDRs against them. They are responsible for safekeeping and maintaining the assets of the IDR holders. Understanding the roles and responsibilities of these intermediaries is crucial for investors looking to invest in Indian Depository Receipts.

Who is Responsible for Distributing the Corporate Benefits to the IDR Holders?

When considering investing in Indian Depository Receipts, understanding who distributes the corporate benefits to the IDR holders is crucial. In simple terms, the issuer of the IDRs is responsible for distributing corporate benefits such as dividends, bonuses, and rights issues to the IDR holders.

This issuer is typically an Indian company whose shares are represented by the IDRs. The responsibility for distributing corporate benefits is outlined in the terms of the IDR offering and is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

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Investors should also be aware that the distribution of corporate benefits to IDR holders may be subject to withholding taxes in India. It is important to consult with a tax advisor to understand the tax implications of investing in IDR.

Additionally, in the case of any disputes or issues regarding the distribution of corporate benefits, IDR holders have the right to approach the issuer or the depository bank, as well as regulatory authorities such as SEBI.

As with any investment, it is crucial to thoroughly research and understand the roles and responsibilities of various parties involved in Indian Depository Receipts to make informed investment decisions.


Indian Depository Receipts offer a unique opportunity for investors to diversify their portfolios and invest in foreign companies without the hassle of navigating different stock exchanges and currencies.

With the increasing globalisation of markets, Indian Depository Receipts is certainly a tool for those looking to expand their investment options.

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