What is GDR? | Definition, Working, Pros vs Cons

There are several mechanisms through which companies can raise capital. Depository receipts are one of them. These are probably the most convenient instruments for raising funds from international investors for businesses.

On the other hand, investors get the rare opportunity to diversify their portfolio by purchasing shares in foreign companies and using their domestic currency.

Ideally, Depository receipts are of two kinds. Global Depository Receipt or GDR is one of them.

Key Takeaways

  1. GDR refers to Global Depository Receipt, a financial instrument representing a foreign company’s stock ownership.
  2. GDRs are traded on international stock exchanges, allowing investors to invest in foreign companies without currency and regulatory barriers.
  3. GDRs benefit companies by increasing their visibility and access to capital markets, but they also involve risks like political instability and currency fluctuations.


So far, its fundamental purpose is concerned; a Global Depository Receipt is very similar to that of an American Depository Receipt. GDRs are primarily negotiable instruments which enable investors in more than one country to purchase stocks in a foreign company.

The critical difference between a GDR and an ADR is that an American bank issues the latter and is specific to American stock markets. In contrast, the former is issued by the overseas branches of an international bank and is traded in multiple countries.

That is precisely why Global Depository Receipts are also known as International Depository Receipts.

How does Global Depository Receipt work?

For the issuance of a GDR, a company enters into an association with an international bank. The bank then makes a custodian agreement with the concerned company’s domestic custodian. As per the instructions of the domestic custodian, the international depository bank issues stocks to foreign investors.

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The denominations used for GDRs tend to be US dollars or euros. When euros are used as the normalised currency for GDRs, the nomenclature changes from GDR to EDR.

This entire process is carried out by following a strict set of guidelines, and the GDR prices are premised on the values of the underlying shares. However, trading and settlement of the GDRs are done independently of the underlying securities.

Salient features of Global Depository Receipt

The following are some significant features of GDR:

  1. They can be traded in domestic markets like any other security instrument.
  2. In India, companies with robust financial health can tap global markets through GDRs for three consecutive years. However, they must get clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and the finance ministry.
  3. These are issued to interested investors across countries because they can be denominated as multiple free convertible currencies.
  4. The owner of the GDR is eligible for the bonus and dividend related to the value of the securities underlying the GDR.
  5. Even though the GDR can be denominated in any convertible currency, the denomination of the shares underlying the GDR is based on the GDR issuer’s local currency.
  6. The holder of the GDR is entitled to sell the GDR through a local custodian by converting it into equity shares.

Advantages of Global Depository Receipt

GDRs have several benefits for investors as well as issuing companies. The following table will make this claim more discernible to you.

Issuing CompanyInvestors
GDRs enable companies to gain access to international markets with minimal cost.1. GDRs are more transparent and easy to track as competitors’ share can be compared.
They help in increasing the visibility of a company in the global market.2. The sale of GDRs helps investors to gain capital.
It helps in raising the capital reserves of companies as more and more foreign investors purchase GDRs.3. They help in diversifying one’s portfolio.

Disadvantages of Global Depository Receipt

Even though GDRs benefit both issuers and investors, they have some significant disadvantages:

  1. Issuing GDRs entails following some strict regulations, contravening which the company may face serious repercussions.
  2. Dividends generated from GDRs are paid in a local country’s currency, subject to the forex market turbulences.
  3. Mostly, High Net-Worth Individuals are benefitted from GDRs as they are costly.
  4. There are no provisions for voting rights in GDRs.
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0929119910000398
  2. http://www.lifesciencesite.com/lsj/life1106s/097_24370life1106s14_464_468.pdf
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Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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24 thoughts on “What is GDR? | Definition, Working, Pros vs Cons”

  1. The article’s emphasis on the mechanics of GDR issuance and trading, along with its impact on companies and investors, is commendable and enriching.

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  2. The article is very informative and well-structured. It provides a detailed explanation of Global Depository Receipts as a mechanism for raising capital and the benefits they offer to companies and investors.

  3. While GDRs offer benefits such as capital reserves and visibility in global markets, the article also underscores the risks associated with political instability and currency fluctuations.

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  5. This article effectively presents the advantages of GDRs for companies and investors, while also addressing the potential risks and challenges associated with their issuance and trading.

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  6. The detailed description of the advantages and disadvantages of GDRs, along with their operational framework, offers valuable knowledge for stakeholders engaging in cross-border financial activities.

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  8. GDRs indeed serve as a means for companies to raise capital from foreign investors while enabling investors to diversify their portfolios. The article captures this dual functionality distinctly.

    • Agreed. The article lays out the benefits of GDRs from the perspectives of both issuers and holders, offering valuable insights into their practical applications.

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  9. The information about GDRs and their role in accessing global markets with minimal cost is eye-opening. It highlights the strategic advantages for companies considering international expansion.

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    • Indeed, the article provides a comprehensive overview of GDRs and their implications, facilitating a deeper understanding of these instruments for companies and investors.


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