Over the past fortnight, NZX Regulation has announced three separate sets of class waivers that offer greater flexibility to issuers in this current environment.
The first was to allow a lift in equity capital raising capacity via placements and share purchase plans.
The second was to allow greater flexibility in the timeframes for financial reporting for debt, equity and fund issuers.
And the third was to make available to the New Zealand market the Accelerated Non-Renounceable Entitlement Offer structure, and to enable downside price protection to be a feature of certain offers to retail investors given the market volatility being experienced. This allows issuers to use offer types not previously used in the NZ markets, which are particularly effective in periods of market volatility.
Through these relief packages we have removed procedural and timing requirements that might otherwise have proved a barrier or distraction to accessing much-needed capital.
NZX Regulation has granted the following relief under class waivers and rulings:
These waivers and rulings have been granted until 31 October 2020. There could be an extension to the period and scope of the class waivers, if that is appropriate.
Under the class relief, issuers will be able to undertake additional equity security issuance without shareholder approval up to the revised limits. Issuers utilising the class waiver will be encouraged to recognise the interests of existing investors, for example allowing existing equity security holders the opportunity to participate to avoid dilution - in line with the policy and principles underpinning Recommendation 8.4 of the NZX Corporate Governance Code.
These capital raising measures are an extension of the body of work underway in response to COVID-19 across NZX, which includes relief from financial reporting obligations and steps to support operational resilience. Separately, we also continue to progress work to seek to make direct listings more efficient and cost-effective for listing on NZX, which could have benefits over time.
NZX appreciates the collaboration with industry groups and regulators, and will continue to work with the capital markets community in response to these challenges.
NZX Regulation Issuer Update dated 16 March 2020 providing guidance to issuers
NZX Regulation Issuer Update dated 19 March 2020 providing class relief in respect of capital raising and financial reporting:
NZX Regulation announcement dated 24 March 2020 providing class relief in relation to ANREO structures.