Danish Presidency takes first step towards agreement on administrative relief for listed companies in the EU

The administrative burdens on listed companies are being reduced in order to make it easier for businesses to raise capital and contribute to growth and employment in the EU. This is at the heart of changes to the so called Transparency Directive. The Danish Presidency is leading negotiations of the Directive, and has just received a mandate in the Council of Ministers to begin negotiations with the European Parliament.
News
Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Transparency Directive sets common EU rules over what information listed companies shall make public. The Danish Presidency is leading negotiations on the Directive, and has just received a mandate in the Council of Ministers to begin negotiations with the European Parliament.  The agreement in Council is primarily intended to reduce the administrative burdens by removing a number of information requirements, including for example the requirement to publish quarterly reports.

Removing the requirement for quarterly reports will particularly make it easier for small and medium sized businesses to access new capital and implement investments, which can support economic development in the EU. Listed companies will continue to be able to choose to publish quarterly reports.

The rules aim to strike the right balance between investors’ need for information, and not placing unnecessary administrative burdens on firms.  Although the general objective is to reduce administrative burdens, information requirements are also being strengthened in certain areas. Investors will as a result have to disclose to a greater extent than today their ownership of potential shares in listed companies, so that so-called hidden ownership can be avoided. This will increase transparency in the market to the benefit of investors.

Minister for Economic Affairs and the Interior, Margrethe Vestager:

I am very satisfied that the Presidency has reached a balanced agreement to strengthen the information requirements which apply to shares in listed companies, but that we are removing requirements for quarterly reports on the other hand. In this way we restrict information requirements to the core issues, but at the same time removing some of the administrative burdens for businesses.

Minister of Business and Growth, Ole Sohn:

It is a positive step that the new rules will reduce the administrative burdens for businesses. Overall, the rules will make it more attractive to be a listed company. This will support businesses’ ability to raise capital and contribute to growth and employment in the EU.

The new rules also create a common framework in all Member States for administrative sanctions in relation to issuers and investors who contravene the rules, so for example, there will not be as great a difference in the size of fines in the future as there is today.

The Danish Presidency will now wait for the European Parliament to take its position on the proposal, before commencing negotiations over the final rules in this area.