Legislation update

Road to Recovery? ASX signals end to emergency relief measures

By Robyn Ferguson and Emma Scotney / 20 November 2020
3 min.
Worthwhile read for: Company directors, CEO, Board members

The Australian Securities Exchange Limited (ASX) has confirmed that its emergency capital raising relief, afforded by way of an ASX class waiver first announced on 31 March 2020, will expire on 30 November 2020 as part of its most recent Listed Compliance Update (Compliance Update).

In addition to signalling the end of the capital raising relief, the Compliance Update provides further details on the following:

  • extended reporting and lodgement deadlines under Chapters 2M and 7 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corporations Act); 
  • upcoming changes to ASX online forms;
  • a confirmed implementation timetable for ASX’s proposed CHESS replacement;
  • Christmas/New Year period closures;
  • upcoming deadlines for periodic reports; and
  • a reminder for listed entities declaring a dividend or distribution to use ASX online forms to make the requisite announcement, and that the dividend or distribution must be announced by 23 December 2020 if 31 December 2020 is to be set as the relevant record date.

We have provided a snapshot of the key points  below. 

Expiry of Emergency Capital Raising Relief

An overview of the Emergency Capital Raising Relief measures implemented earlier this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic was outlined in our previous article. As explained in this recent Compliance Update, if listed entities are to take advantage of the temporary relief afforded by the ASX class waiver, they are required to announce the capital raising by 30 November 2020. The relief to use 2+2 capital raising trading halts will also expire on the same date.

ASIC extended reporting and lodgement deadlines

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has also recently announced by way of a media release that it would further extend the deadline for listed and unlisted entities to lodge financial reports under the Corporations Act Chapters 2M and 7 by one month for balance dates up to and including 7 January 2021 where the balance date has not already passed (Media Release). In response, ASX has announced that it proposes to issue a further class waiver pursuant to ASX Listing Rule 18.1 to supplement ASIC’s announcement, conditional on:

  1. the entity providing to the market its unaudited/unreviewed accounts and the associated information required by Appendix 4D or 4E (as applicable) by the usual lodgement deadline, to provide the market with the entity’s current financial information; and
  2. that at the same time (or before) an entity lodges its unaudited/unreviewed financial accounts with ASX, the entity announces to the market that:
  • it is relying on the ASIC relief detailed in the Media Release to extend the lodgement date for its audited/reviewed accounts; and
  • the entity will also immediately make a further announcement to the market if there is a material difference between its unaudited/unreviewed accounts and its audited/reviewed accounts.

Changes to ASX online forms

ASX has also indicated that the online versions of its Appendices 2A and 3G are expected to become available in March 2021. Currently only the Appendices 3B and 4A are used in an online format, first introduced as part of the broad changes made by the ASX in December 2019 (refer to our previous publication), with the new Appendices 2A and 3G still being lodged in a document format. ASX has also announced that it will provide a ‘training environment’ through its ‘ASX Online for Companies’ platform to allow entities and their officers to get used to the new online forms.

If you require any assistance with capital raising procedures or with understanding any of the matters raised in the most recent Compliance Update, please contact a member of our Corporate Advisory and Governance team.

Robyn Ferguson
Robyn is a Partner in our Corporate practice with significant experience advising Australian corporations and their respective boards and senior management on capital raisings, IPOs, takeovers, mergers and acquisitions and compliance.
Emma Scotney
Emma is an Associate in our Corporate practice in Perth.

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