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American Depositary Share (ADS)

American Depositary Share (ADS)

What Is an American Depositary Share (ADS)?

An American depositary share (ADS) is a equity share of a non-U.S. company that is held by a U.S. depositary bank and is accessible for purchase by U.S. investors.

The whole issuance of shares by a foreign company is called a American Depositary Receipt (ADR), while the individual shares are alluded to as ADSs. Be that as it may, the terms American Depositary Shares and American Depositary Receipts are frequently utilized reciprocally.

Understanding American Depositary Shares

An ADR is a negotiable certificate issued by a U.S. bank, under agreement with the foreign company, and is evidence of ownership of ADSs, similarly a stock certificate indicates ownership of equity shares.

ADSs are intended to work with trading of the shares. They can trade over-the-counter (OTC) or on a major exchange, for example, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or the Nasdaq (Nasdaq), contingent upon how much the foreign company will consent to U.S. regulations. Listing on a major exchange generally requires the very level of reporting as that done by domestic companies, as well as adherence to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

The Benefits of ADSs

Foreign companies that decide to offer shares on U.S. exchanges gain the advantage of a more extensive investor base, which can likewise bring down costs of future capital. For U.S. investors, ADSs offer the opportunity to invest in foreign companies without dealing with currency conversions and other cross-border administrative loops.

The Downside of ADSs

There is some currency risk engaged with holding ADSs. Variances in the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the foreign currency will affect the price of shares as well as on any income payments, which must be changed over into U.S. dollars.

Tax treatment of dividends from ADSs is likewise unique. Most countries apply a withholding amount on dividends issued for ADRs. This withholding amount can change. For instance, Chile and Switzerland keep 35% while France can keep as much as 75% of the tax on dividends, on account of non-agreeable countries inside the EU. The withholding tax is notwithstanding the dividend tax previously demanded by U.S. specialists. The dividend tax can be kept away from by ADR investors by finishing up Form 1116 for foreign tax credit.

Real World Examples of ADSs

A single ADS frequently addresses more than one share of common stock. Further, ADSs can "gap" up or down outside of U.S. trading hours, while trading is going on in the company's nation of origin and U.S. markets are closed.

For instance, South Korea's Woori Bank, a subsidiary of Woori Financial Group, has ADSs that are traded in the U.S. The bank's ADS gapped up by $0.03 on July 20, 2016. A technical analysis of the price action on this ADS shows that for the past decade, its price proceeded with higher 66% of the time after a gap up.


  • The terms American Depositary Shares and American Depositary Receipts are frequently utilized conversely.
  • The primary drawback of ADSs for investors is that there is still some currency risk, even however they are named in U.S. dollars.
  • ADSs permit foreign companies access to a more extensive investor base and the world's most sophisticated financial marketplace.
  • American Depositary Shares (ADS) allude to shares in foreign companies that are held by U.S. depositary banks and can be traded in the U.S., remembering for major exchanges.