A company may raise funds for different purposes depending on the time periods ranging from very short to fairly long duration. The total amount of financial needs of a company depends on the nature and size of the business. The scope of raising funds depends on the sources from which funds may be available. The business forms of sole proprietor and partnership have limited opportunities for raising funds. They can finance their business by the following means :-
- Investment of own savings
- Raising loans from friends and relatives
- Arranging advances from commercial banks
- Borrowing from finance companies
Companies can Raise Finance by a Number of Methods. To Raise Long-Term and Medium-Term Capital, they have the following options:-
Issue of Shares
It is the most important method. The liability of shareholders is limited to the face value of shares, and they are also easily transferable. A private company cannot invite the general public to subscribe for its share capital and its shares are also not freely transferable. But for public limited companies there are no such restrictions. There are two types of shares :-
- Equity shares :- the rate of dividend on these shares depends on the profits available and the discretion of directors. Hence, there is no fixed burden on the company. Each share carries one vote.
- Preference shares :- dividend is payable on these shares at a fixed rate and is payable only if there are profits. Hence, there is no compulsory burden on the company's finances. Such shares do not give voting rights.
Issue of Debentures
Companies generally have powers to borrow and raise loans by issuing debentures. The rate of interest payable on debentures is fixed at the time of issue and are recovered by a charge on the property or assets of the company, which provide the necessary security for payment. The company is liable to pay interest even if there are no profits. Debentures are mostly issued to finance the long-term requirements of business and do not carry any voting rights.
Loans from Financial Institutions
Long-term and medium-term loans can be secured by companies from financial institutions like the Industrial Finance Corporation of India, Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) , State level Industrial Development Corporations, etc. These financial institutions grant loans for a maximum period of 25 years against approved schemes or projects. Loans agreed to be sanctioned must be covered by securities by way of mortgage of the company's property or assignment of stocks, shares, gold, etc.
Loans from Commercial Banks
Medium-term loans can be raised by companies from commercial banks against the security of properties and assets. Funds required for modernisation and renovation of assets can be borrowed from banks. This method of financing does not require any legal formality except that of creating a mortgage on the assets.
Companies often raise funds by inviting their shareholders, employees and the general public to deposit their savings with the company. The Companies Act permits such deposits to be received for a period up to 3 years at a time. Public deposits can be raised by companies to meet their medium-term as well as short-term financial needs. The increasing popularity of public deposits is due to :-
- The rate of interest the companies have to pay on them is lower than the interest on bank loans.
- These are easier methods of mobilising funds than banks, especially during periods of credit squeeze.
- They are unsecured.
- Unlike commercial banks, the company does not need to satisfy credit-worthiness for securing loans.
Reinvestment of Profits
Profitable companies do not generally distribute the whole amount of profits as dividend but, transfer certain proportion to reserves. This may be regarded as reinvestment of profits or ploughing back of profits. As these retained profits actually belong to the shareholders of the company, these are treated as a part of ownership capital. Retention of profits is a sort of self financing of business. The reserves built up over the years by ploughing back of profits may be utilised by the company for the following purposes :-
- Expansion of the undertaking
- Replacement of obsolete assets and modernisation.
- Meeting permanent or special working capital requirement.
- Redemption of old debts.
The benefits of this source of finance to the company are :-
- It reduces the dependence on external sources of finance.
- It increases the credit worthiness of the company.
- It enables the company to withstand difficult situations.
- It enables the company to adopt a stable dividend policy.
To Finance Short-Term Capital, Companies can use the following Methods :-
Companies buy raw materials, components, stores and spare parts on credit from different suppliers. Generally suppliers grant credit for a period of 3 to 6 months, and thus provide short-term finance to the company. Availability of this type of finance is connected with the volume of business. When the production and sale of goods increase, there is automatic increase in the volume of purchases, and more of trade credit is available.
The amounts due to a company from customers, on account of credit sale generally remains outstanding during the period of credit allowed i.e. till the dues are collected from the debtors. The book debts may be assigned to a bank and cash realised in advance from the bank. Thus, the responsibility of collecting the debtors' balance is taken over by the bank on payment of specified charges by the company. This method of raising short-term capital is known as factoring. The bank charges payable for the purpose is treated as the cost of raising funds.
Discounting Bills of Exchange
This method is widely used by companies for raising short-term finance. When the goods are sold on credit, bills of exchange are generally drawn for acceptance by the buyers of goods. Instead of holding the bills till the date of maturity, companies can discount them with commercial banks on payment of a charge known as bank discount. The rate of discount to be charged by banks is prescribed by the Reserve Bank of India from time to time. The amount of discount is deducted from the value of bills at the time of discounting. The cost of raising finance by this method is the discount charged by the bank.
Bank Overdraft and Cash Credit
It is a common method adopted by companies for meeting short-term financial requirements. Cash credit refers to an arrangement whereby the commercial bank allows money to be drawn as advances from time to time within a specified limit. This facility is granted against the security of goods in stock, or promissory notes bearing a second signature, or other marketable instruments like Government bonds. Overdraft is a temporary arrangement with the bank which permits the company to overdraw from its current deposit account with the bank up to a certain limit. The overdraft facility is also granted against securities. The rate of interest charged on cash credit and overdraft is relatively much higher than the rate of interest on bank deposits