Business / Policy Watch

CSRC announces rules for preferred company shares

By Cai Xiao (China Daily) Updated: 2014-03-22 07:40

The China Securities Regulatory Commission released on Friday rules for a pilot program allowing companies to issue preferred shares. It opens the way to raise funds and establish a multi-level capital market.

"The trial of preferred shares is a great innovation in the Chinese capital market and plays an important role in deepening reform," said Zhang Xiaojun, a spokesman at CSRC.

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Three types of listed companies can publicly issue preferred shares: Shanghai Stock Exchange 50 index members (the largest by market capitalization); companies planning to acquire other listed companies by issuing preferred shares for payment; companies buying back common stock that plan to decrease their registered capital by issuing preferred shares as payment.

Other domestically listed companies can conduct private placements of preferred shares through stock exchanges, as long as they comply with Chinese laws and regulations.

Unlisted domestic companies and Chinese firms listed abroad can apply for private placements of preferred shares to qualified investors with the entity number in one issue limited to 200 or fewer.

Qualified investors in private placements of preferred shares include certain Chinese financial institutions and their financial products, qualified foreign institutional investors, renminbi QFIIs, partnerships and individual investors, among others.

Listed companies are not allowed to issue convertible preferred shares to ensure common equity isn't diluted. The preferred shares of listed commercial banks can be converted to common shares only when trigger events occur.

"It is good for protecting the interests of common-stock shareholders but the costs of issuers should be higher because they have to increase dividends to attract buyers," Hong Hao, managing director and chief strategist at BOCOM International Holdings Co Ltd, said.

Listed companies that can publicly issue preferred shares should be profitable for the past three financial years while others need only ensure that average annual attributable profit over the same period is no less than the annual dividend of preferred shares.

CSRC announces rules for preferred company shares CSRC announces rules for preferred company shares
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