Date
18 January 2017
Loh Boon Chye says any change to the listing rules will only occur after a public consultation process. Photo": straitstimes.com
Loh Boon Chye says any change to the listing rules will only occur after a public consultation process. Photo": straitstimes.com

Singapore approves dual-class shares

Singapore will introduce dual-class shares after the stock exchange won approval from its listing committee.

Bloomberg is reporting that companies will be allowed to have weighted voting rights, subject to corporate governance safeguards to mitigate risk from such structures.

The idea behind the move is to draw more international businesses to Singapore.

It could help narrow the gap with Hong Kong, Asia’s biggest market for new listings, where minority-control voting structures are not allowed.

Hong Kong lost Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s US$25 billion initial public offering to the US after regulators rejected the Chinese e-commerce company’s governance structure.

Singapore paved the way for dual-class shares by amending laws governing companies earlier this year.

“Definitely, this is a positive move,” said Steve Melhuish, chief executive of Singapore-based PropertyGuru, which raised the second-largest amount by a tech company in Southeast Asia last year.

“But there is still some work to be done,” including lack of comparable tech startups and difficulty in valuing companies in the market, he said.

Singapore has been introducing rules to try to attract more public companies, including allowing the listing of resource firms without an earnings track record and dual-currency trading for stocks and exchange-traded funds.

Any change to the listing rules will only occur after a public consultation process, Loh Boon Chye, chief executive of the stock exchange, said in an e-mailed statement.

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CG/RA

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