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NASDAQ Dubai explains benefits of proposed new listing rules at Latham & Watkins-moderated seminar

PUBLISHED ON 28-Feb-2011
NASDAQ Dubai  explains benefits of proposed new listing rules at Latham & Watkins-moderated seminar

Dubai, February 27, 2011 - Bankers and other IPO advisors attended a packed seminar at which NASDAQ Dubai explained the benefits of its proposed new rules for listing companies, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The seminar, moderated by law firm Latham & Watkins, also discussed the exchange's proposals to ensure that all companies list with a broad investor base, by having a minimum 10% retail tranche or at least 400 retail or institutional investors.

Investment bankers, accountants, investor relations and public relations specialists and industry bodies were among those attending the event on Tuesday in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). NASDAQ Dubai published the proposed listing rule changes last month for public consultation.

Latham & Watkins corporate partner Andrew Tarbuck, who chaired the seminar, said: "NASDAQ Dubai's listing proposals are a landmark in the development of the UAE's capital markets. The discussion drew instructive comment from across the financial and business community about how a broader range of issuers would be able to go public and raise capital under the proposed changes, and how the process will work at a practical level."

Lanae Holbrook, General Counsel of NASDAQ Dubai, gave details of the proposals including how all initial public offering (IPO) prospectuses would be filed with Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), the regulator of NASDAQ Dubai. This structure is in line with international standards and would ensure that investors receive adequate disclosure about issuers.

Ms. Holbrook said: "We have received a positive response from potential issuers and their advisors about the listing rule changes and we welcome further feedback. While providing more flexible listing criteria to attract family companies and small enterprises, NASDAQ Dubai would maintain the international regulatory standards that underpin its market. The changes would also promote liquidity in its listed companies from regional retail investors and institutions from around the world."

The proposals would enhance transparency and investor protection, including a requirement for equity issuers to publish financial results quarterly, instead of half yearly as now.

Rule changes would also strengthen NASDAQ Dubai's framework for listing exchange traded funds (ETFs) and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS). The rules for listing exchange-traded commodities (ETCs) and Sharia securities have been revised.

Issuers of Sukuk and conventional bonds would be encouraged to obtain an investment grade credit rating before listing, or else demonstrate a sufficient assets-to-debt ratio.

NASDAQ Dubai expects to finalise its new listing rules after studying feedback from the public received during the consultation period, which ends on March 17, 2011. They will be the first revision to the rules since the exchange opened in 2005.

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