07 Feb 2020

Exchange Launches Consultation on the extension of Weighted Voting Rights to corporate controllers

The HKEX has published a consultation paper (Corporate WVR Consultation) seeking public feedback on a proposal to allow corporate entities to benefit from weighted voting rights (WVR). 

The HKEX is proposing to broaden Chapter 8A of the Listing Rules to permit corporate shareholders to also benefit from WVR, subject to a number of additional requirements and safeguards on top of the existing safeguards in Chapter 8A. In this briefing we give our views on the proposals in the Corporate WVR Consultation which builds upon the earlier reforms of the HKEX with the aim of enhancing Hong Kong’s competitiveness as a listing venue to “new economy” companies. A majority of mainland based “unicorn companies” have well-established corporate shareholders whose support is important, if not crucial, to the success of these unlisted unicorn companies. These corporate shareholders often seek WVR as a means of maintaining control over companies in their “ecosystem”. The proposed enhancements to the existing Hong Kong regime in the Corporate WVR Consultation would be a welcoming development to these unicorn companies and for the Hong Kong capital market. In the effort to strike a balance between addressing the needs of potential issuers whilst maintaining a sufficient level of shareholder protection, the proposals inevitably limit eligibility for corporate WVR weighted to a limited number of well-established corporates that control a “business ecosystem” of which the listing applicant is a part.

 

Contact Information
Peter Brien
Partner at Slaughter and May
Jing Chen
Partner at Slaughter and May