Public Company update - May 2020
Welcome to the May 2020 edition of our biannual Public Company Update, for directors and in-house counsel of quoted companies, nomads/brokers and sponsors, and other corporate finance professionals and intermediaries.
With the COVID-19 pandemic causing global disruption across all markets, it's no surprise that UK Markets are in a state of flux and government guidance is rapidly evolving as the future remains uncertain. In spite of this, we have seen unprecedented resilience and adaptability from UK businesses, and our Capital Markets team has continued to see a steady flow of transactional activity. For example, in March and April, the team advised on two transactions for tech companies - an illustration of the continued value of digital solutions in the current climate.
In March, we advised AIQ Ltd (a special purpose vehicle with a focus on the development and establishment of new technology) on its Main Market readmission and reverse takeover of AI codes. AI codes is a specialist information technology software designer and developer focused on the e-commerce sector.
In April, we advised Allenby Capital as nominated adviser and broker on AIM-listed ECSC Group’s placing. ECSC is a provider of cyber security services which has experienced continued organic growth, driven by market demand as a result of an increasing awareness of cyber security within corporate boardrooms. Andrew Collins, fellow Partner in our Capital Markets team, commented "it is heartening that even in these times of lock-down, the equity capital markets are still functioning, and companies are able to raise funds."
As a wider team, we continue to support entrepreneurs, management teams, growth companies and investors, helping them to navigate this new landscape with advice on a wide range of legal issues.
In this edition of our Public Company Update we include four articles including two providing useful legal insight following recent COVID-19 related guidance, applicable to listed companies and their advisers alike. I hope you enjoy the read.
Mark Howard, Corporate Partner
COVID-19: Cash conservation and dividend dilemmas
Following the publishing of ICSA’s guidance note on “Withdrawal or amendment of dividend resolution to AGM”, we discuss cash conservation and the note’s commentary on legal differences between dividends as well as payment options.
COVID-19: changes in UK insolvency law to protect businesses and directors
How is the proposal for reforms to UK insolvency law designed to protect companies and directors during the COVID-19?
Changes to the listing rules: disclosure of rights attached to equity shares
The FCA publish amended Handbook so that recent changes ensure holders and potential holders of listed securities have ready access to information in relation to the rights attached to them.
Points of practice – tips on FCA and LSE completion processes
We set out some key points of practice for advisers responsible for handling the FCA’s and LSE’s completion processes relating to securities issuance.