The reduction in the ASX timetable for rights issues (and introduction of new timetables for accelerated entitlement offers) is intended to facilitate flexibility in capital raising and ensure that rights issues remain a viable capital raising mechanism. The change to the last election date for a dividend or distribution re-investment plan reflects the reduction in the ex-period from 5 business days to 3 business days across most corporate actions with an ex-period and the practice of a large number of listed entities of setting the last election date on the same day as the record date. Listed entities considering undertaking a rights issue or accelerated entitlement offer or implementing a dividend or distribution re-investment plan should familiarise themselves with the new timetables.
ASX’s changes to timetables for rights issues and dividends and distribution re-investment plans came into effect on 14 April 2014.
- The changes reduce the standard timetable for traditional rights issues from 26 business days to 19 business days by: reducing the period from the ex date to and including the record date from 5 business days to 3 business days;
- reducing the period from the day after the record date to and including the date that documents are sent to shareholders from a maximum of 4 business days to a maximum of 3 business days;
- reducing the period from the day after the date that documents are sent to shareholders to and including the closing date from a minimum of 10 business days to a minimum of 7 business days; and
- reducing the period from the day after the closing date to and including the issue date from 6 business days to 5 business days.
In addition, ASX has implemented standard timetables for:
- accelerated non-renounceable entitlement offers (18 business days);
- accelerated renounceable entitlement offers and simultaneous accelerated renounceable entitlement offers (21 business days); and
- accelerated renounceable entitlement offers with retail trading rights (22 business days).
The timetable for dividends and distributions in Appendix 6A now requires that the last election date for a dividend or distribution re-investment plan is no earlier than the business day following the record date for the dividend or distribution.
Finally, ASX has shortened the ex-period from 5 business days to 3 business days across most corporate actions with an ex-date (including dividends and distributions, interest payments, rights issues, bonus issues, return of capital, buy-backs and reconstructions). The reduction in the ex period does not apply to calls, conversions and expiries.
See Timetables for Rights Issues and the Timetable for Dividends: Amendment to the ASX Listing and Operating Rules which shows the changes in mark up.