Jersey has been approved as an Acceptable Overseas Jurisdiction by the Hong Kong Exchange, which means that Jersey companies can join companies from Australia, Bermuda, British Columbia, Cayman Islands, China, Ontario, Cyprus, Germany, Luxembourg, Singapore and the United Kingdom able to float on the Exchange.
In the approval process, the Hong Kong Exchange considered various matters including shareholder protection provisions under Jersey law as any non Hong Kong company listing on the Exchange has to demonstrate that shareholder protection offered by that foreign jurisdiction is at least equivalent to that in Hong Kong.
The Exchange has now published conditions under which Jersey companies may list on the Exchange and have confirmed that these companies may now follow the streamlined process set out in Guidance Letter HKEx - GL12 - 09 and will not be required to complete a detailed line by line comparison in accordance with the Joint Policy Statement Regarding the Listing of Overseas Companies issued jointly by the Securities and Futures Commission and the Exchange on 7th March 2007.
The approval for Jersey companies came as a result of two concurrent approaches to the Hong Kong Exchange. Ogier acted for an existing Jersey company which sought a pre IPO ruling on various matters, including whether Jersey is an Acceptable Overseas Jurisdiction, and this was considered by the Exchange last month. This application was assisted by the fact that work had been undertaken by Jersey Finance, the finance industry promotional body in Jersey, supported by the Jersey government over many months and this had lead to a submission being made to the Exchange seeking guidance on the question of whether Jersey is an Acceptable Overseas Jurisdiction.
The approval is an important step forward in that any Jersey company already operating in Asia or which has aspirations there, will now be able to access the capital markets of one of the largest financial centres in the region.
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