Bonus shares are issued by converting the reserves of the company into share capital. It is nothing but capitalization of the reserves of the company. Bonus shares can be issued by a company only if the Articles of Association of the company authorises a bonus issue. Where there is no provision in this regard in the articles, they must be amended by passing special resolution act at the general meeting of the company. Care must be taken that issue of bonus shares does not lead to total share capital in excess of the authorised share capital. Otherwise, the authorised capital must be increased by amending the capital clause of the Memorandum of association. If the company has availed of any loan from the financial institutions, prior permission is to obtained from the institutions for issue of bonus shares. If the company is listed on the stock exchange, the stock exchange must be informed of the decision of the board to issue bonus shares immediately after the board meeting. Where the bonus shares are to be issued to the non-resident members, prior consent of the Reserve Bank should be obtained.
Only fully paid up bonus share can be issued. Partly paid up bonus shares cannot be issued since the shareholders become liable to pay the uncalled amount on those shares.