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Companies Update
28 February 2008
Update no 01/08

Important information for ASX Listed Entities

TRADING HALTS AND SUSPENSIONS

Keeping the market informed is a key priority of ASX. It is the obligation of every listed entity to keep the market informed, and this obligation continues when an entity has requested a trading halt or suspension from quotation of its securities.

The listing rules permit entities to request interruptions to trading in their securities. Listing rule 17.1 (PDF 129KB) enables ASX to grant a trading halt at the request of the entity, and listing rule 17.2 (PDF 129KB) enables ASX to suspend an entity's securities from quotation at the entity's request. Both rules state that ASX may decide not to grant the trading halt or suspension despite the request of the entity. (Trading halts and voluntary suspensions from quotation under either of these rules are to be distinguished from suspensions of securities imposed by ASX under listing rule 17.3 (PDF 129KB) without a request having been made by a listed entity).

Listing rules 17.1 and 17.2 (PDF 129KB) both state that ASX may require the request to be in writing. Guidance Note 16 - Trading Halts (PDF 107KB) stipulates in relation to trading halts that the request must be confirmed in writing and must include the information required by the listing rules (paragraph 10), and that the request will in most cases be released to the market (paragraph 11).

ASX advises it will insist that requests for suspension under listing rule 17.2 (PDF 129KB), as well as requests for trading halts under listing rule 17.1 (PDF 129KB), be made in writing for release to the market. The information provided in the written request must include the matters set out in those listing rules, namely:

  • reasons for the suspension or trading halt; 
    ASX expects that the reasons provided would be more specific than 'pending an announcement'. By way of example, acceptable reasons may include a proposed acquisition/disposal, significant capital raising, merger discussion, and/or finalising accounts. 
  • how long the entity expects the suspension or trading halt (for trading halts less than two days);
  • the event that the entity expects to happen that will end the suspension or halt in trading; 
  • a statement that the entity is not aware of any reason why its securities should not be suspended or halted; and
  • any other information necessary to inform the market about the suspension, or other information that ASX asks for.

ASX notes that in some circumstances it may not be appropriate for ASX to suspend or halt trading in an entity's securities. ASX draws listed entities' attention to paragraph 9 of Guidance Note 16 (PDF 107KB), where ASX notes that expectation of a takeover being made for the entity or acquisition of a substantial shareholding may be relevant in deciding whether to grant a trading halt or suspension, and paragraph 12 of Guidance Note 16 (PDF 107KB), which concerns the inappropriateness of an interruption in trading to facilitate the administrative or marketing convenience of an entity. 

Where a listed entity is not able or willing to provide a written request to ASX for suspension of its securities, including the information required in listing rule 17.2 (PDF 129KB), ASX may consider whether the entity's securities should more appropriately be suspended, without the entity's request, by ASX under listing rule 17.3 (PDF 129KB). 

Listing rule 3.1 (PDF 204KB) applies to entities while their securities are subject to a suspension or a trading halt, and if the entity becomes aware of information that would require disclosure under listing rule 3.1 (PDF 204KB) the entity must release that information immediately notwithstanding that the entity's securities are suspended or halted from trading (listing rule 18.6 (PDF 85KB)).

Back to Back Trading Halts
ASX refers to paragraph 14 of the Guidance Note which encourages entities to consider a voluntary suspension where the entity cannot manage a disclosure issue within the two day trading halt period. ASX also refers to paragraph 15 in the Guidance Note (PDF 107KB), which states that the back to back trading halt will only be granted in exceptional circumstances and that a delay in finalizing information to be announced to the market would not be considered to be 'exceptional' circumstances. Entities should seek guidance from their home branch if they are contemplating requesting a back to back trading halt. 

Reinstatement
ASX may at any time reinstate an entity's securities to quotation (listing rule 17.7 (PDF 129KB)). Prior to reinstatement ASX will ensure that the market has the information referred to in the request for suspension or trading halt as well as any other information ASX asks for. Occasionally ASX may require additional time to satisfy itself that an entity continues to comply with the listing rules (in particular the on-going requirements of listing rules 12.1, 12.2, and 12.5 (PDF 86KB)) prior to reinstating trading in the entity's securities. 

Company announcements
Please note that the new facsimile number for company announcements is 1300 135 638. The old 1900 number should no longer be used. For further information, please refer to the following link at asx.com.au.

To help keep our Listed Entities informed of information and events ASX will be sending emails to the Company Secretary's Office from time to time. You are receiving this email because you have been identified as a key contact within the Company Secretary's Office at your organisation. If you would like to update your email address please do so via the Directors/Senior Management page on ASX Online for Companies. Feel free to forward this email to any relevant parties within your organisation.