Following some other European stock exchanges, the Vienna Stock Exchange (VSE) announced today, 22 February 2019, that it will no longer require issuers, the shares of which are admitted to trading on its regulated market, to publish quarterly reports.
In line with EU legislation, the Austrian Stock Exchange Act (Börsegesetz – BörseG) requires issuers of equity and debt instruments listed on the regulated market to publish semi-annual reports. Whether or not issuers in the highest market segment also have to publish quarterly reports (Q1 and Q3) is left to the discretion of the relevant stock exchange (to be regulated in the terms and conditions of the relevant market).
The VSE has now decided to change its rules to the effect that quarterly reports (Q1 and Q3) will no longer be mandatory and has amended its prime market rules accordingly with immediate effect. Going forward, issuers may decide individually, if and in what format they will continue publishing quarterly financial information, also considering investor expectations. If an issuer continues to publish quarterly financial information, such information will have to follow a consistent format and will need to be published to investors generally to ensure non-discriminatory and equal treatment of investors. The annual report and the semi-annual report (Q2) will have to be prepared in the same manner as in the past.
This change does not affect an issuer's obligation to disclose events which qualify as inside information in accordance with Art 17 of the Market Abuse Regulation if and when they arise (MAR; unless disclosure is delayed in accordance with Art 17 para 4 MAR).
This change is certainly welcome to Austrian and non-Austrian (potential) issuers when selecting listing venues and is part of the VSE's strategic positioning as an attractive listing venue. Only recently the VSE has introduced direct market, its fast, inexpensive and easy access entry-level segment to attract SMEs, start-ups and growth companies.
By Peter Feyl, Partner and Ursula Rath, Partner Schoenherr