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International Depository Receipt (IDR)


An International Depository Receipt (IDR) is a financial instrument that represents ownership in the shares of a foreign company and is traded on the local stock exchanges of countries other than the company’s home country. IDRs enable domestic investors to buy shares in foreign companies without the hazards of overseas trading. They are similar to American Depository Receipts (ADRs), but can be issued in multiple countries.


International Depository Receipt is pronounced as:In-ter-na-shuh-nuh-l Deh-pah-zih-tuh-ree Reh-seept (IDR: I – D – R).

Key Takeaways

1. Definition: International Depository Receipt (IDR) is a kind of financial tool used by companies for raising capital from foreign markets. It represents ownership in the shares of a foreign company and is issued by a domestic depository bank in the country where the securities are traded.

2. Objective: The primary objective of IDRs is to enable foreign corporations to tap into domestic markets for funding purposes. It allows investors from the issuer’s domestic country to invest in foreign firms without having to deal with cross-border regulatory issues. At the same time, it provides foreign companies access to capital from other countries.

3. Concept: When a foreign company wants to issue IDRs, it offers its shares to a domestic depository bank. The bank then issues IDRs in the domestic market, which denotes ownership in a specified number of shares of the foreign company. It’s like buying stocks of a foreign entity in the domestic market.


International Depository Receipts (IDRs) are important in business finance because they allow companies to raise funds in international markets and provide a gateway for investors to invest in foreign companies. They represent ownership in the shares of a foreign company and are traded on local stock exchanges. IDRs offer the ability to diversify investment portfolios across geographical boundaries without the hassle of individual foreign trading standards. They make it easy for investors to globally diversify their investments while breaking down barriers between domestic and foreign markets. Furthermore, they function as a tool for foreign companies to attract investment from other countries, enhancing their global presence. Therefore, IDRs play a crucial role in globalizing financial markets.


The primary purpose of an International Depository Receipt (IDR) is to facilitate the trading and investment in shares of foreign companies, effectively bridging the gap between domestic investors and overseas markets. It serves as a financial instrument that represent the shares of a foreign company, allowing them to be traded in the domestic market of another country. Hence, a domestic investor can purchase an IDR to own shares indirectly in a foreign company, enabling them to diversify their investment portfolio without dealing with the complexities and restrictions related to investing directly in foreign markets. Usage of IDRs provides companies with an additional channel for raising capital from investors in foreign markets. When a company decides to issue an IDR, it first deposits its shares with a banking institution located in its home country. This bank then issues depository receipts against these shares, which are subsequently listed on the stock exchange of the foreign country. Consequently, this provides the company with an expanded investor base and could potentially boost their liquidity. Additionally, investors gain exposure to the foreign company’s financial performance and dividends, adding an international dimension to their investments.


1. BHP Billiton Ltd: BHP, a renowned multinational mining, metals, and petroleum corporation headquartered in Australia, issues IDRs for its investors who reside in foreign countries. The IDRs give these investors the right to acquire BHP Billiton shares which are reserved and controlled by a depository bank in a foreign jurisdiction.2. Unilever NV: Unilever, a global manufacturer of consumer goods, has IDRs in India. These represent the shares of the company but are traded on the stock exchanges in India, allowing Indian investors to invest in the company without having to directly access foreign markets.3. Vodafone Group plc: This multinational telecommunications company, based in the UK, also issued IDRs to make its shares accessible to foreign investors. These IDRs were listed on the Indian Stock Exchange, thereby providing Indian investors with the significant opportunity to invest in Vodafone’s shares without having to delve into the international stock market.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is an International Depository Receipt (IDR)?

An International Depository Receipt (IDR) is a financial instrument that represents a company’s securities or shares that are traded on foreign stock exchanges. IDR issuance enables the company to reach a wider investor base and diversify their business.

Why are IDRs issued?

IDRs are typically issued to expand a company’s investor base to foreign markets. By issuing IDRs, companies can access capital from investors in different countries without having to comply with each country’s specific listing and regulatory requirements.

How does an IDR work?

A depository bank issues IDRs. These are issued against the actual shares held by the bank in the company’s home country. Investors buy these receipts, which can be traded on foreign stock exchanges just like normal stocks.

What is the difference between an IDR and an ADR (American Depository Receipt)?

The difference is primarily geographical. While both IDRs and ADRs represent a specified amount of shares in a foreign company, ADRs are traded only on American exchanges, while IDRs can be bought and sold on exchanges outside the United States.

Can anyone invest in IDRs?

Yes, IDRs can be purchased by any investor who has access to the exchanges where the IDRs are listed. This allows investors from different countries to invest in foreign corporations without the complexity of dealing with foreign regulatory practices and currency conversions.

Are IDRs riskier than normal stocks?

Investing in IDRs does come with additional risks compared to domestic stocks. These include currency risk, political risk, and economic risk linked to the foreign market in which the company operates. It is essential for investors to understand these risks and consider them as part of their investment decision.

What are the benefits of investing in IDRs?

Investing in IDRs allows investors to diversify their portfolio globally, potentially hedge against domestic economic movements, and gain exposure to growth in emerging markets. This can result in higher potential returns, though it does come with increased risk.

How are IDRs taxed?

Taxation on IDRs can be complex as it may involve both domestic and foreign tax laws. Generally, any income gained from IDR investments, such as dividends and capital gains, are subject to taxation. However, the exact rates and rules can vary based on the investor’s home country and the country of the issuing company. It is recommended that potential investors consult with a tax professional or financial advisor to understand the specific tax implications better.

Related Finance Terms

  • Global Depository Receipt (GDR)
  • American Depository Receipt (ADR)
  • Financial Markets
  • Foreign Investments
  • Securities Exchange

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