The Listing Rules reflect currently acceptable standards in the market place and are designed to ensure that investors have and can maintain confidence in the market and in particular that:—(1) applicants are suitable for listing;(2) the issue and marketing of securities is conducted in a fair and orderly manner and that potential investors are given sufficient information to enable them to make a properly informed assessment of an issuer and, in the case of a guaranteed issue, the guarantor and of the securities for which listing is sought;(3) investors and the public are kept fully informed by listed issuers and, in the case of a guaranteed issue, the guarantors of material factors which might affect their interests;(4) all holders of listed securities are treated fairly and equally;(5) directors of a listed issuer act in the interests of its shareholders as a whole — particularly where the public represents only a minority of the shareholders; and(6) all new issues of equity securities by a listed issuer are first offered to the existing shareholders by way of rights unless they have agreed otherwise.
In these last four respects, the rules seek to secure for holders of securities, other than controlling interests, certain assurances and equality of treatment which their legal position might not otherwise provide.
It is emphasised that the Exchange Listing Rules are not exhaustive and that the Exchange may impose additional requirements or make listing subject to special conditions whenever it considers it appropriate. Conversely, the Exchange may waive, modify or not require compliance with the Exchange Listing Rules in individual cases (to suit the circumstances of a particular case), as a variety of circumstances may exist which require it to make ad hoc decisions. However, any waiver or modification of, or decision not to require compliance with, a rule, which is intended to have general effect (i.e. to affect more than one issuer and its subsidiaries at the same time) may only be granted with the prior consent of the Commission. The Exchange will not grant an individual waiver or modification of a rule, or agree not to require compliance with a rule, on a regularly recurring basis so as to create the same result as a general waiver. Consequently, both new applicants and listed issuers and, in the case of a guaranteed issue, guarantors are encouraged to seek informal and confidential guidance from the Exchange at all times.
These Exchange Listing Rules may be amended by the Exchange from time to time, subject to the approval of the Commission under section 24 of the Securities and Futures Ordinance.
Suitability for listing depends on many factors. Applicants for listing should appreciate that compliance with the Exchange Listing Rules may not of itself ensure an applicant's suitability for listing. The Exchange retains a discretion to accept or reject applications and in reaching their decision will pay particular regard to the general principles outlined in rule 2.03. Prospective issuers (including listed issuers) are therefore encouraged to contact the Exchange to seek informal and confidential guidance as to the eligibility of a proposed application for listing at the earliest possible opportunity.