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Governance Change Makes Rights Issues Easier

Global Glimpses | January 5, 2009

Cash-hungry U.K. public companies will be able to raise funds via a rights issue more quickly in the future, following a corporate governance rule change.

Influential shareholder group the Association of British Insurers has changed its good governance guidelines on rights issues. Previously, it said companies should call an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders to approve the issuance of new shares worth more than a third of its existing capital. Now it has raised the hurdle to two-thirds.

The move should make it easier for companies to launch rights issues more quickly, and to issue new shares at a discount to their market value, the ABI says. If a company takes advantage of the raised hurdle, then the guidance says all of its directors should stand for re-...

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