Listing and Initial Public Offering of Securities
Any company that has ambitious development plans will at some time or another consider the process of becoming public. If you hear that a company decided to “go public” or “float its shares”, then it’s setting up for an Initial public offering (IPO) and plans to have its shares listed or admitted to trading on the stock exchange.
IPO is the first sale of stocks by a company to the public through the stock exchange.
Companies can list their outstanding or newly issued securities. While the listed status of a security does not guarantee that it will do well in the market, the fact that its issuer was able to comply with the requirements and qualify for listing is considered as a sign of "quality".
Advantages of Listed Companies
IPOs have long been the main source of capital for companies worldwide. This brings us to the advantages of doing an IPO and being listed on a stock exchange:
- IPOs are a way to raise equity capital to expand and grow the business;
- IPOs normally ensure long-term funds compared to borrowings from banks;
- an IPO and an exchange listing can enhance the reputation and transparency of the company
- the issuer builds up a history in the market: once you’ve done your IPO successfully, it will be easier to generate equity funding from the stock market in the future;
- as a rule, listed stocks are more liquid, due to which they can be cashed-in quickly.
What it Takes to Live as a Listed Public Company
While being a very rewarding initiative for reasons mentioned above, IPO is also quite an expensive and rigorous commitment. Apart from underwriter fees, the issuer company will need to ensure that it complies with best corporate governance practices and remains at all times transparent to the public, its existing and potential shareholders. This, apart from the annual audit, implies maintaining an up-to-date website, setting up communication channels including media, establishing an Investor Relations function. The larger number of shares you want to allocate to minor holders (see “free float”), the larger the “audience” you are accountable to.
In 2010 Armenian Government approved Armenian Corporate Governance Code, which set standards of corporate governance in line with international best practice, taking into account the Armenian practices and framework. Good corporate governance allows companies to increase their competitiveness, economic efficiency and growth, to attract the capital required for economic growth and reduce the cost of such capital, improve operational decision-making and the company’s reputation, as well as to promote protection of and cooperation with stakeholders who have a legitimate interest in company’s performance.
Listing/Admission to Trading at Armenia Securities Exchange
Here are just some of the advantages that listing on Armenia Securities Exchange is able to provide:
- flexible list structure with free market “C” of Armenia Securities Exchange offering a chance to “test the waters”: build track record in the capital market and get prepared to comply with higher listing criteria;
- listing requirements and fees adapted to local conditions give cost advantage compared to other international exchanges;
- lower fees for underwriting and advisory services offered by Armenia Securities Exchange member investment companies and banks, as compared to rates charged by overseas consultants and brokers;
- continuous coverage from local media attracting added public attention to the company and its products;
- help within arm’s reach: Armenia Securities Exchange staff is always here to provide advice and assistance on all matters related to the company listing and listing maintenance;
Companies seeking to be listed or admitted to trading on Armenia Securities Exchange go through the following steps:
- Resolution to submit an application for listing is passed by the authorized management body of the issuer (general meeting of shareholders or the Supervisory Board);
- Prospectus is prepared and registered with the Central Bank of Armenia;
- Shareholders registry keeping agreement is signed with the Central Depository of Armenia;
- Central Depository of Armenia assigns a unique identification code to the securities to be listed;
- Listing application along with the set of documents required is submitted to Armenia Securities Exchange.
If your company is considering becoming listed on Armenia Securities Exchange, you may also find it useful to download the Application Form that needs to be completed and submitted to the stock exchange as part of the admittance process, as well as the sample Agreement on Listing/Admission to Trading, which will be concluded with the issuer once the application has been approved. Armenian versions of documents are available for download at the right side of the page.
The main documents that are required to be submitted to the stock exchange along with the Application can be found in point 62, chapter 13 of the Rules on Securities Listing and Admission to Trading.
The completed application with the full set of attachments must be submitted to Armenia Securities Exchange (26/1 Vazgen Sargsyan Str., Yerevan) in hard copy, with electronic version sent by e-mail to the exchange’s listing unit.
A more detailed description of the listing process can be found in AMX Rules on Securities Listing and Admission to Trading.
Companies that are interested in learning more about doing an IPO and getting listed on Armenia Securities Exchange are kindly requested to contact Listing Department, Tel.: +374 60 69 55 55 ext.190. Stock exchange member companies are also there to help and provide professional advice and any assistance that you may require.