The primary market is also known as the new issues market. It deals with new securities being issued for the first time. The essential function of a primary market is to facilitate the transfer of investment funds from savers to entrepreneurs seeking to establish new enterprises or to expand existing ones through the issue of securities for the first time. The investors in this market are banks, financial institutions, insurance companies, mutual funds and individuals.
There are various methods of floating new issues in the primary market:
(i) Offer through Prospectus: This involves inviting subscription from the public through issue of prospectus. A prospectus makes a direct appeal to investors to raise capital, through an advertisement in the newspapers and in the magazines. The issues may be underwritten and also are required to be listed on at least one recognised stock exchange. The contents of the prospectus have to be in accordance with the provisions of the Companies Act and SEBI Disclosure and Investor Protection Guidelines.
(ii) Offer for Sale: Under this method, securities are not issued directly to the public but are offered for sale through the intermediaries like issuing houses or stock brokers. In this case, a company sells securities in bulk at an agreed price to brokers who, in turn, resell them to the investing public.
(iii) Private Placement: Private Placement is the allotment of securities by a company to institutional investors and some selected individuals. It helps to raise capital more quickly than a public issue. Access to the primary market can be expensive on account of various mandatory and non-mandatory expenses. Some companies, therefore, cannot afford a public issue and choose to use private placement.
(iv) Rights Issue: This is a privilege given to existing shareholders to subscribe to a new issue of shares according to the terms and conditions of the company. The shareholders are offered the ‘Right’ to buy new shares in proportion to the number of shares they already possess.
(v) e-IPOs: A company proposing to issue capital to the public through the online system of the stock exchange has to enter into an agreement with the stock exchange. This is called an Initial Public Offer (IPO). SEBI registered brokers have to be appointed for the purpose of accepting applications and placing orders with the company. The issuer company should also appoint a registrar to the issue having electronic connectivity with the exchange. The issuer company can apply for listing of its securities on any exchange other than the exchange through which it has offered its securities. The lead manager co-ordinates all the activities amongst intermediaries connected with the issue.