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COVID-19: ASX Compliance Update

Written by citadeladmin

April 1, 2020

The ASX has released a Compliance Update that will directly impact listed entities in the current COVID-19 environment. Citadel-MAGNUS has provided a summary below of the key points. The full update can be viewed here.
 
 

 

  • Continuous disclosure obligations: ASX has acknowledged the disclosure challenges for listed Companies arising from the uncertainty around COVID-19, however, it asserts that a listed entity’s continuous disclosure obligations under listing rule 3:1 do not extend to predicting the unpredictable nature around COVID-19, nor does ASX expect listed entities to make forward-looking statements to the market
    • Earnings guidance: ASX notes that many listed entities that had issued earnings guidance prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 have taken the opportunity to withdraw that guidance, which is both ‘acceptable’ and ‘understandable’. Importantly, it recommends that entities that have not reviewed their published guidance in light of COVID-19, are strongly recommended to do so
    • Capital raisings: disclosure remains unchanged – a listed entity must report a proposed a capital raising under rule 3.10.3 as soon as it’s committed to the raising
    • Financial difficulty: a listed entity in financial difficulty is subject to the same disclosure standards under listing rule 3.1 as any other entity. If there is an adverse development affecting financial condition or prospects, and a reasonable person would expect that information to have a material effect on the price or value of its securities, the entity must immediately disclose that information
    • Dividends: Decisions to defer or rescind dividend payments must be notified to the market immediately
  • Listing rule 15.7: ASX reminds entities of the requirement for market announcements to be given to ASX first; information for release to the market should not be seen by anyone else prior to it being released on ASX
  • Temporary emergency capital raising relief: ASX is proposing to implement temporary emergency capital raising measures to help facilitate capital raisings in the short term implemented by way of “Class Waivers”
  • AGMs: ASX acknowledges the ASIC guidelines re upcoming meetings and strongly endorses and supports the advice given in these documents, which allows the postponement of AGMs or conducting an AGM online using appropriate technology
  • Reporting relief: ASX outlines reporting relief for dual listed ASX/ NZX listed entities, for Companies that lodge quarterly reports, and it may grant an extension of year end deadlines for 30 September, 31 December or 31 March balance date
  • Misleading COVID-19 announcements: ASX calls out a ‘significant number’ of Companies ‘disturbingly’ making misleading claims around COVID-19, including Companies claiming to having found a cure, new treatment, or product that kills COVID-19. This also includes entities claiming to be gearing up to use their manufacturing facilities to manufacture masks, gowns, thermometers, hand sanitisers and other medical necessities in short supply with little or no details

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