Ordinary Shares

Updated on April 4, 2024
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Edited byWallstreetmojo Team
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Ordinary Shares Definition

Ordinary Shares are the shares issued by the company to raise funds from the public and the private sources for its working, carry voting rights, and are shown under owner’s equity in the liability side of the company’s balance sheet.

It is also called common sharesCommon SharesCommon stocks are the number of shares of a company and are found in the balance sheet. It is calculated by subtracting retained earnings from total equity.read more and represents the equity ownership in a company proportionate to the number of ordinary shares with each investor. It does not have a predetermined dividend, i.e., the shareholders of such shares do not receive a mandatory dividend.

It is up to the company to pay the dividend if it seems prudent, looking at the company’s financial health. Each ordinary share represents a vote in the company which can be used during the Annual General Meeting and other general meetings of the company for the appointment of Directors, passing of different shareholders resolutions.

Ordinary Shares

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Example – Let’s say an investor holds 10,000 shares in a Company TNG Inc. with 5,00,000 shares outstanding. Thus, he will have 10000/500000 = 2% ownership in the company.

Change in Ordinary Shares

Several ordinary shares outstanding with the company can change over time if the company chooses to take a corporate action. These corporate actions could be:

#1 – Stock Split

In the case of a stock splitStock SplitStock splits refer to the process whereby a company increases its number of shares, reducing the per-share price of the stocks. read more, the shares of the company are broken in some proportion like 1:2, which means every shareholder having a single share will now have 2 shares.

Stock Split 3 for 2

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#2 – Reverse Stock Split

In reverse stock splitsReverse Stock SplitsReverse stock split refers to the process of boosting a company’s stock price by reducing the number of its outstanding shares. It is attained by combining some of the existing shares in the market and simultaneously raising their value in the same ratio.read more, 2 or more shares are joined together to form a single share. Therefore, issuing more shares, the company requires to raise capital can issue several shares in the market.

Reverse Stock Split

source: genomeweb.com

#3 – Buyback

Suppose the company has enough cash and does not have resources to deploy. In that case, the capital can buy back the sharesBuy Back The SharesShare buyback refers to the repurchase of the company’s own outstanding shares from the open market using the accumulated funds of the company to decrease the outstanding shares in the company’s balance sheet. This is done either to increase the value of the existing shares or to prevent various shareholders from controlling the company.read more from the shareholders at the prevalent market price, thereby reducing the number of ordinary shares.

Fixed Price Share Repurchase Buyback

#4 – Bonus Shares

The Company can issue bonus sharesBonus SharesBonus shares refer to the stocks issued by the companies for free of cost to their existing shareholders in the proportion of their stock holdings. Companies issue such shares to compensate the shareholders with a higher dividend payout in the form of stocks.read more to the shareholders, which can be considered a stock dividendStock DividendA stock dividend refers to bonus shares paid to shareholders instead of cash. Companies resort to such dividends when there is a cash crunch. Shareholders are allotted a certain percentage of shareholding.read more.

Bonus Shares

source: business-standard.com

The investors, while analyzing the number of outstanding sharesNumber Of Outstanding SharesOutstanding shares are the stocks available with the company's shareholders at a given point of time after excluding the shares that the entity had repurchased. It is shown as a part of the owner's equity in the liability side of the company's balance sheet.read more and the change in the number over time, should look for such corporate actions taken by the company.




  • There is limited control of the Company and in decision making.
  • There is a limitation to whether the dividend is received or not.
  • Its price can be dependent on both the company’s performance and external factors.


Ordinary Shares is the equity share capitalEquity Share CapitalShare capital refers to the funds raised by an organization by issuing the company's initial public offerings, common shares or preference stocks to the public. It appears as the owner's or shareholders' equity on the corporate balance sheet's liability side.read more of the company which the Company issues to raise capital. They do not have a pre-defined dividend. Instead, it gives ownership of the company to shareholders and assigns the right to vote in the matters of the company with one ordinary share having one vote each.

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This has been a guide to Ordinary Shares and their definition. Here we discuss the top 4 reasons for changes in ordinary shares, advantages, disadvantages, and limitations. You can learn more about financing from the following articles –

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