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Hong Kong IPO Guide 2013 香港首次公開招股指南2013

Hong Kong IPO Guide 2013 香港首次公開招股指南2013 LexisNexis The 2nd Annual Guide to Listing in Hong Kong from

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Hong Kong IPO Guide 2013 香港首次公開招股指南2013 LexisNexis The 2nd Annual Guide to Listing in Hong Kong from


CONTENTS

Contents Foreword

5

About LexisNexis

7

Introduction

9

List of Abbreviations

23

Chapter 1: Why to List in Hong Kong

24

Chapter 2: The Role of Reporting Accountants

32

Chapter 3: Financial Information Requirements and Transforming the Business

43

Chapter 4: Structuring the Deal with the Investment Banks

54

Chapter 5: Preparing for an IPO – Specific Listing Issues

63

Chapter 6: An IPO Prospectus – How to Make it Happen?

72

Chapter 7: Choosing your Registrar

79

Chapter 8: Communicating with Investors – The Role of Public Relations in Shaping Corporate Images

84

Chapter 9: The Importance of Online Investor Relations in an IPO Project

90

Chapter 10: Post-Listing Compliance Obligations

94

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IPO prospectuses Bond and equity prospectuses Annual and semi-annual reports Depository receipt documentation Fund fact sheets Financial statements Investor/shareholder communication M&A documentation Private placement memoranda Proxy statements Investment strategy Stock recommendation reports Market commentaries

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FOREWORD

Foreword LexisNexis is pleased to be the publisher of the Hong Kong IPO Guide 2013, the second edition in this series. The first edition last year was met with a very positive response and we appreciate all the feedback we received from the readers, which we have sought to incorporate into this volume. This handbook takes a comprehensive view of the Hong Kong IPO process, from consideration of a listing here, conducting pre-IPO restructuring, selection of bankers, legal and auditing advisers, and financial printing and communications experts, to proceeding with the IPO and preparing for continuing obligations after listing. Bringing a company public is no small matter. Every step of the process needs to be thought through carefully and executed precisely in order to gain the most benefits. Whilst a listing is a milestone in a company’s history, it also means the company will face an enlarged group of shareholders, regulators and other stakeholders; each with their own requirements and expectations. More than ever, the listed company needs to be responsible, transparent and accountable. By publishing this Guide, we aim to help companies interested in listing in Hong Kong understand what needs to be done at each stage and to gain control of the process – all in a single source and laid out in a clear and sequential manner. The information contained in the Guide is contributed by leading professionals in the IPO field who have provided up-to-date and relevant information about listing. This year, we have been supported by an extraordinary number of organisations who are distributing this edition of the IPO Guide to their members. We heartily thank each of these organisations, and each of the contributing authors and their firms, for helping to bring this edition of the IPO Guide to life.

Yours sincerely, Bruce Andrews Managing Editor, Hong Kong IPO series

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ABOUT LEXISNEXIS

About LexisNexis LexisNexis is a division of Reed Elsevier (Greater China) Limited. It provides authoritative information to legal, corporate, government and academic markets, and publishes legal, tax, regulatory and other information, via online and print formats. LexisNexis also produces high-level conferences, and provides training and custom publishing services.

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INTRODUCTION

Introduction Message from The Hong Kong Corporate Counsel Association

Going public through an initial public offering (IPO) is a significant milestone for an enterprise, especially in a global financial hub like Hong Kong. However, the increasing regulatory requirements and heightened investor expectations can make the listing process formidable. This comprehensive IPO Guide can serve as a valuable informative resource for in-house counsel and other professionals looking to understand the intricacies of the listing process in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Corporate Counsel Association (HKCCA), established in 2003, is the pioneer association representing in-house lawyers in Hong Kong. The Association provides an efficient and wide range of benefits and services for its members’ professional development, including continuing legal education, a platform for networking and the exchange of ideas, information and experiences all of which aid the in-house lawyer to be a better trusted advisor to the business. As a non-profit organization that is run by in-house counsel for in-house counsel, the HKCCA prides itself in knowing what members of the corporate counsel community want to learn, to hear, to advocate and to participate in, and organizes various activities to meet these needs. The HKCCA has more than 600 members employed by organizations across a range of industries. Approximately half are members through the highly successful corporate membership scheme which many leading companies have joined. For more information, please visit: www.hkcca.net.

Jasmine Karimi President, HKCCA

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INTRODUCTION

Message from the Hong Kong Chinese Enterprises Association

The Hong Kong Chinese Enterprises Association (HKCEA) is pleased to be a partner of the IPO Guide 2013 with LexisNexis. This is a comprehensive, practical and educational publication, serving as a blueprint for company directors who are interested in listing in Hong Kong. HKCEA was established on 8 March 1991. Presently, it has 1,000 member companies whose businesses are manufacturing and services sectors related. The objectives of HKCEA are: (i) promoting economic and technological exchanges and cooperation between mainland China and Hong Kong; (ii) promoting mainland investment in Hong Kong and other regions, or vice versa; (iii) building and maintaining close contacts with commercial bodies in Hong Kong and other regions; (iv) fostering cooperation and dialogue among members, and encouraging them to adopt mediation in commercial disputes; (v) providing diversified services to members to enhance and preserve members’ benefits. Please visit HKCEA’s website: www.hkcea.com.

Song Lin Chairman

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INTRODUCTION

Message from the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers

The Hong Kong Institute of Bankers (HKIB) has the pleasure to support the release of the Hong Kong IPO Guide 2013 by LexisNexis. The Guide provides comprehensive information on the essentials of an IPO, offering enterprises great visibility in navigating the complex process. Given Hong Kong’s position as a favoured listings destination, it is a practical business resource. HKIB is a professional body providing banking training and qualifications. Its four professional banking qualifications–“Associate of HKIB” (AHKIB); “Certified Professional” (CP); “Accredited Banking Practitioner” (ABP); and “Certified Financial Management Planner” (CFMP) are industry-recognised. HKIB also takes the role in bridging banking practitioners and organisations, as well as financial regulators in the Greater China region and the world over for exchanges and cooperation to further the banking profession. It was founded in 1963 and has since served as a platform where banking practitioners get “qualified, educated, informed and connected”. For more details, please visit: http://www.hkib.org.

Carrie Leung Chief Executive Officer

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INTRODUCTION

Message from the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants

The Hong Kong Institute of CPAs is pleased to be a primary supporter of LexisNexis’ Hong Kong IPO Guide 2013. As a global financial hub, Hong Kong is always most welcomed by enterprises and is one of the top listings markets in the world. As such, an all-encompassing information source to serve as the ‘Bible’ for IPOs in Hong Kong is a valuable and worthwhile project. Established on 1 January 1973, the Hong Kong Institute of CPAs is the only body authorized by law to register and grant practising certificates to Certified Public Accountants in Hong Kong. The Institute has more than 34,000 members and 16,000 registered students. Members of the Institute are entitled to the description certified public accountant and to the designation CPA. For more information, please visit: http://www.hkicpa.org.hk.

Raphael Ding Chief Executive & Registrar

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INTRODUCTION

Message from The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries

Becoming a listed issuer is an exciting and also a daunting task for any company. The regulatory requirements and investor expectations are significant. This IPO Guide is a valuable resource that will help Chartered Secretaries and other professionals both understand and navigate the proper path to becoming a Hong Kong listed issuer. The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries (HKICS) is an independent professional body dedicated to the promotion of its members’ role in the formulation and effective implementation of good governance policies in Hong Kong and throughout China as well as the development of the profession of Chartered Secretary. HKICS was first established in 1949 as an association of Hong Kong members of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) of London. It became a branch of ICSA in 1990 before gaining local status in 1994. HKICS is a founder member of Corporate Secretaries International Association (CSIA) which was established in March 2010 to give a global voice to corporate secretaries and governance professionals. HKICS today has more than 5,500 members and 3,200 students. For more information, please visit www.hkics.org.hk.

Phillip Baldwin Chief Executive

17


INTRODUCTION

Message from The Hong Kong Institute of Directors

The Hong Kong Institute of Directors (“HKIoD”) is delighted to work with LexisNexis on the Hong Kong IPO Guide 2013. The Guide is a comprehensive, practical and educational resource for directors who are interested in learning how to best help their companies achieve effective listings in Hong Kong. I am certain that this handy Guide would provide you with the IPO information that you have been looking for. HKIoD is Hong Kong’s premier body representing directors to foster the long-term success of companies through advocacy and standards-setting in corporate governance and professional development for directors. A non-profit-distributing organisation with membership consisting of directors from listed and non-listed companies, HKIoD is committed to providing directors with educational programmes and information service and establishing an influential voice in representing directors. With international perspectives and a multi-cultural environment, HKIoD conducts business in biliteracy and trilingualism. Website: http://www.hkiod.com

Dr Kelvin Wong DBA FHKIoD Chairman

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INTRODUCTION

Message from the Hong Kong Securities and Investment Institute

The Hong Kong Securities and Investment Institute (HKSI) congratulates LexisNexis on the publication of Hong Kong IPO Guide 2013. Hong Kong is a financial hub for Asia and also a leader in the field of IPO fund raising. As part of our mission is to set standards of professional excellence and integrity for members and market participants, the HKSI supports the industry initiative to educate the financial professionals. Such resources will in turn be a great tool for financial practitioners, legal and auditing professionals, and other stakeholders to learn more about the IPO process. The HKSI is a professional membership organisation established in 1997 for the securities and investment industry in the region. It offers comprehensive programmes of membership services, training courses, events, and internationally recognised examinations which aim to develop talents in the financial industry and to enhance the status of Hong Kong as an international financial centre. Senior industry practitioners serve on our Board and various committees to guide the direction of our service offering and bring top of the market expertise to our members. For more information, please visit www.hksi.org.

Mrs Edith Chan, ACA, MHKSI, MHKICPA, FHKIOD Chief Executive

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LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

List of Abbreviations

CASBE CSRC FDI GEM HKEx HKFRS HKICPA HKSIR HKSRE IFRS INED IPO MOFCOM PRC PSI SAFE SAIC SFC SPV US GAAP VIE

China Accounting Standards for Business Enterprises China Securities Regulatory Commission Foreign Direct Investment Growth Enterprise Market of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong* Hong Kong Financial Reporting Standards Hong Kong Institute of Certified Practicing Accountants Hong Kong Standards on Investment Circular Reporting Engagements Hong Kong Standards on Review Engagements International Financial Reporting Standards Independent Non-Executive Director Initial Public Offering Ministry of Commerce (China) People’s Republic of China Price-Sensitive Information State Administration of Foreign Exchange (China) State Administration for Industry and Commerce (China) Securities and Futures Commission Special Purpose Vehicle United States Generally Accepted Accounting Principles Variable Interest Entity

* While HKEx is the official abbreviation for the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited, the parent company of the The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, this Guide has also adopted HKEx when referring to the Hong Kong’s Stock Exchange as it is the abbreviation most commonly used in Hong Kong by financial media and many other sources. However, the official abbreviation for The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited is SEHK.

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HONG KONG IPO GUIDE 2013

Chapter 1: Why to List in Hong Kong

W

hen your business has grown to a certain scale, listing will become an available option for you to take your business to the next level. Undoubtedly, listed companies enjoy many benefits over private companies, but these benefits come with prices. In deciding whether to list a business, the pros and cons of listing should be weighted, having regard to the specific needs of the business and objectives it strives to achieve. In addition, whether your business is suitable and eligible for listing, where you should list your business and how to prepare for the listing are all important questions to consider. This chapter outlines the major considerations a company should take in planning its listing. It also sets out the basic requirements for listing in Hong Kong and suggests some pre-IPO preparations which may be done to streamline the process.

Listing or Not – A Critical Decision to Make

A successful listing by way of an initial public offering (IPO) is more than a capital-raising activity. It also enhances the public profile of the business and affords it a sense of prestige. However, a hasty move to list a business with poor planning and execution may result in adverse consequences. In extreme cases, companies may have to de-list their businesses as their listings do more harm than good. As a listing is an important milestone in a company’s history, it should not be decided lightly and the following pros and cons of listing should be considered and weighted: Ease of Capital-Raising versus Listing Expenses A listed company enjoys a competitive edge over a private company in terms of ease of raising capital. An IPO is a relatively cost-effective way of raising capital when compared to financings available to private companies, such as debt financing. In addition, a listed company can raise further finance easily and cheaply by issuing more shares. Moreover, a listed company generally enjoys better terms for bank financings. Banks may release the personal guarantees given by the major shareholders for the company’s bank facilities upon listing. However, an IPO involves substantial capital outlay during the process. Careful budgeting and precise execution are required to ensure its cost-effectiveness. To control its

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Chapter 1: Why to List in Hong Kong

cost exposure, a potential issuer may consult with professional parties involved in the IPO to agree on payment of fees by instalments. If necessary, potential issuers may consider introducing pre-IPO investors to the company for fund flow. Liquidity versus Unwanted Shareholders A shareholder of a private company may not easily increase or decrease his or her stake in the company, as it may involve complicated business valuations and heighten the tension among the shareholders. In particular, for a family-owned business, any change to the existing shareholding structure may lead to family issues, which may in turn spark a dispute among the shareholders. By providing liquidity to the shares and affording the founders an exit option to realise their investments in the company, listing a business may mitigate the risk of shareholders’ disputes. Nevertheless, the other side of the coin with liquidity is that you cannot avoid unwanted investors from becoming shareholders of your company. Shareholdings in a listed company should be closely monitored so as to avoid takeover bids from competitors or other investors. Publicity versus Market Scrutiny; Prestige versus Compliance Burden A listing status is a badge of quality. It generally shows that the company is adhering to higher standards of compliance and corporate governance. Also, listing a business is a means to raise its public profile and visibility, which will in turn increase the market’s awareness of the company’s products or services. The price for publicity is that a listed company is subject to market scrutiny. The company will face a larger group of shareholders, regulators as well as other stakeholders; each with their own requirements and expectations. It will also be subject to a more onerous compliance burden. Hence, only those enterprises with capable and committed management which are prepared to demonstrate high standards of corporate governance and transparency should take the challenge of listing.

Why List in Hong Kong?

Once an enterprise has decided to pursue a listing, the next step is to choose the most suitable market for listing. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx) is an attractive listing venue for many local and international businesses. It is the seventh largest stock exchange in the world in terms of the total market capitalisation of all securities listed thereon.1 It has also been the busiest stock exchange in the past few years in terms of its numbers of IPOs. Its popularity can be explained by a number of Hong Kong’s advantages as the listing venue: Gateway between Mainland China and the Rest of the World Strategically located in a high-growth region, Hong Kong is well-positioned to capture the opportunities offered by the booming economy of Mainland China. HKEx allows Mainland 1

Statistics for 2011 are available on www.world-exchanges.org

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HONG KONG IPO GUIDE 2013

China businesses to access capital from investors from all over the world. Meanwhile, it also allows international investors to invest in Mainland China businesses. Moreover, it has now become a trend for international brands to list on the HKEx to gain access to capital from the Mainland China and to raise their profile and visibility in the Mainland China. Strategic Plan to Capture Mainland China’s Growth Pursuant to its strategic plan for 2010-2012, HKEx is committed to attracting new listings from Greater China or with a China orientation. To capture the opportunities arising from the internationalisation of Renminbi (RMB), HKEx is also working on new products, platforms and infrastructure, aiming at becoming the exchange of choice for international investors to access RMB-denominated products. Liquid Market with Free Flow of Capital Having access to both local and international funds, HKEx is a vibrant and liquid stock market. With numerous tax advantages, currency convertibility and free transferability of securities but no capital flow restrictions, HKEx is an attractive market for both companies and investors alike. With its unique role as a gateway to Mainland China, coupled with a more liquid market, HKEx is expected to continue its position as the pre-eminent exchange in the region. Strong Legal System and Sound Regulatory Framework A well-established and respected legal system is a cornerstone of Hong Kong’s success. HKEx is regulated by a clear and sound regulatory framework, which is on a par with international standards. These provide a strong foundation for companies to raise funds in Hong Kong and affords investors confidence in Hong Kong’s stock market. Despite that A-share listings in Shanghai and Shenzhen generally enjoy higher profit-toearnings (P/E) ratios, many Mainland businesses choose to list in Hong Kong because the HKEx adopts a clear set of objective listing criteria and a more guaranteed listing timetable. These would facilitate the listing preparation and provide more certainty to a listing application.

Is Your Business Suitable and Eligible for Listing?

Once a decision to list in Hong Kong is made, the potential issuer should then consider if it can satisfy the HKEx’s listing criteria. First of all, the company and its business must, in the HKEx’s opinion, be suitable for listing.2 In addition, the company must also satisfy the listing qualifications set out in the Listing Rules.

2

Rule 8.04 of the Rules Governing the Listing of Securities on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (Listing Rules); Rule 11.06 of the Rules Governing the Listing of Securities on the Growth Enterprise Market (GEM) of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (GEM Listing Rules)

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Chapter 1: Why to List in Hong Kong

Suitability for Listing There is no definitive “suitability” test, although the HKEx may raise concerns in situations where: • the company does not have control over its business and is unable to carry on an independent business as its main activity; for example, the company is heavily dependent on one customer/supplier3 or relies heavily on the support of a related party4, the parent company or a controlling shareholder5; • the company’s has regulatory non-compliance records6; or • the company has deteriorating financial performance and uncertain business prospects7. Regulatory Non-Compliance and Illegal Acts It is not uncommon for listing applicants to disclose in their listing documents incidents of regulatory non-compliance or illegal acts committed by the companies. Common incidents of regulatory non-compliance include: • failure of Hong Kong companies to hold annual general meetings and lay accounts in accordance with the requirements of the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 32)(Companies Ordinance); • failure of Hong Kong companies to file specified forms with the Companies Registry in accordance with the requirements of the Companies Ordinance; and • non-payment or under-payment of social security contributions for the employees in the Mainland China. Regulatory non-compliance or illegal acts of an applicant may not necessarily render the applicant unsuitable for listing. HKEx will consider the nature and seriousness of the breach, whether it was intentional or involved dishonesty, the impact on ongoing operations and the measures put in place to prevent further breaches.8 In most of the cases, HKEx will allow listing provided that the non-compliance or illegal acts are fully disclosed in the listing documents. For serious breaches, the HKEx may require the listing to be delayed to ascertain the full effects of the breaches and the effectiveness of the preventive measures put in place. 3

Listing Decision (HKEx-LD107-1) published in October 2010 Listing Decision (HKEx-LD92-1) published in May 2010 5 Listing Decision (HKEx-LD46-1) published in July 2005; Listing Decision (HKEx-LD46-2) published in July 2005; Listing Decision (HKEx-LD51-1) published in March 2006; Listing Decision (HKEx-LD51-3) published in March 2006; and Listing Decision (HKEx-LD30-2012) published in April 2012 6 Listing Decision (HKEx-LD97-1) published in July 2010; Listing Decision (HKEx-LD19-2011) published in September 2011 7 Listing Decision (HKEx-LD37-2012) published in September 2012 8 Listing Decision (HKEx-LD97-1) published in July 2010 4

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HONG KONG IPO GUIDE 2013

Main Board Listing Qualifications Apart from being suitable for listing, a listing applicant must also satisfy one of the following three financial tests set out under Listing Rules: (1) profit test; (2) market capitalisation/ revenue test; or (3) market capitalisation/revenue/cash flow test. Profit Test

Market Capitalisation/ Revenue Test

Market Capitalisation/ Revenue/ Cash Flow Test

Minimum profit attributable to shareholders

At least HK$20 million recorded in the most recent financial year, and aggregate profits of at least HK$30 million recorded in the two preceding financial years

-

Minimum market capitalization at the time of listing

HK$200 million

HK$4 billion

HK$2 billion

Minimum revenue

-

HK$500 million HK$500 million for the most recent for the most recent audited financial year audited financial year

Minimum cash flow

-

-

Aggregate positive cash flow from operating activities of HK$100 million for the three preceding financial years

In addition, the listing applicant must also demonstrate: • a trading record of at least three financial years with management continuity for at least the three preceding financial years and ownership continuity and control for at least the most recent audited financial year9; 9

The HKEx may accept a shorter trading record period under substantially the same management if the company qualifies under the Market Capitalisation/Revenue test and can demonstrate (i) that its directors and management have sufficient and satisfactory experience of at least three years in that line of business/industry; and (ii) management continuity for the most recent audited financial year.

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Chapter 1: Why to List in Hong Kong

• that it has enough working capital for its current needs and for at least 12 months after listing; • that at least 25% of its total issued share capital will at all times be held by the public10, which means that the market capitalization of the public float must be at least HK$50 million; and • that it will have at least 300 shareholders post-listing. A company that cannot meet the above requirements will generally be not eligible for a listing on the Main Board of HKEx, unless the HKEx agrees to relax those requirements in a particular case. Nevertheless, such a company may still be able to list on the GEM, which is an alternative stock market operated by the HKEx and is aimed at enterprises that have growth potential but are not necessarily able to meet the financial tests for the Main Board. GEM Listing Requirements To be eligible for listing on the GEM, the listing applicant must have: • a positive cashflow generated from operating activities in its ordinary and usual course of business of at least HK$20 million for the two preceding financial years; • a market capitalisation of at least HK$100 million at the time of listing. As with the Main Board requirements, at least 25% of the company’s total issued share capital must at all times be held by the public, and for GEM companies the minimum market capitalisation of the public float is HK$30 million; • a trading record of at least two financial years with management continuity for at least the two preceding financial years and ownership continuity and control for at least the most recent audited financial year; and • at least 100 shareholders post-listing. GEM is positioned as a stepping-stone to the Main Board. A GEM listed company may apply for a transfer of its listing to the Main Board at a later stage, provided that the Main Board listing criteria are met. Due to their unique characteristics, the listings of mineral companies or newly formed “project” companies in Hong Kong are subject to specific listing qualifications and requirements. For details, please refer to Chapter 5 (Preparing for an IPO – Specific Listing Issues).

10

The HKEx may accept a lower public float percentage of between 15% and 25% in cases where a company has an expected market capitalisation of over HK$10 billion at the time of listing.

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HONG KONG IPO GUIDE 2013

How to Prepare for an IPO?

Pre-IPO Diagnosis In formulating a listing plan, the potential issuer should consult with professional parties at an early stage for a clear understanding of the listing requirements, as well as the HKEx’s current vetting attitude towards the business of the potential issuer. Legal advisers, together with accountants and/or sponsor firms, could provide pre-IPO diagnosis against the business to be listed to identify material issues in advance and propose solutions for the potential issuer. With the advice of the professional parties, the potential issuer may devise an action plan for listing, which would facilitate project management and the control of cost outlay. Pre-IPO Reorganisation An IPO process usually involves group reorganisation, which aims at organising the group into a suitable listing structure. Such reorganisation usually commences shortly before the submission of listing application. However, in some cases, potential issuers may have to commence the group reorganisation at an earlier stage. Otherwise, the listing process may be delayed. For example, some business partners may run a business using different entities. If they cannot prove that the entities are operated under their common control, they will not be regarded as a legal group and the reporting accountants may not be able to prepare consolidated accounts for these entities. As a result, the results, assets and liabilities of the entities may only be consolidated into the group account after the restructuring. In such case, the disregarded results may render the listing group failing to meet the listing qualifications, and the business partners may need to wait for longer time to list their business. In addition, sometimes the existing group structure may not entail all material operating subsidiaries, assets and businesses, or may contain businesses which need to be excluded. In such cases, pre-IPO reorganisation should be commenced earlier to allow the effect of the inclusion or exclusion of businesses or assets to be reflected in the track record period results. Pre-IPO reorganisation requires careful consideration of various aspects, including legal, tax and accounting implications as well as the requirements under the Listing Rules. Legal advisers and accountants should be consulted to ensure all aspects would have been considered. Pre-IPO Financing Companies may have funding needs before listing. Potential issuers may consider introducing strategic investors to the company so as to obtain funding and to access the business experience of strategic investors. Many private equity, hedge funds and investment banks would invest in unlisted companies, with the aim of cashing out on eventual IPOs. In return, these investors may take the form of a straightforward investment in ordinary shares or convertible instruments. As different investment structures may have different impact on the Company’s financial position, pre-IPO financing should be carefully structured.

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Chapter 1: Why to List in Hong Kong

Pre-IPO investors are usually given large discounts because of the risk that the IPO might not be successful. Also, they may ask for some special rights to protect their exposure. These preferential treatments may not be allowed by HKEx. For details, please refer to Chapter 5 (Specific Listing Issues).

Disclaimer

The law and procedure on this subject are very specialized and complicated. This article is just a very general outline for reference and cannot be relied upon as legal advice in any individual case. If any advice or assistance is needed, please contact our solicitors.

Contact ONC Lawyers General line: (852) 2810 1212 Fax: (852) 2804 6311 14-15th Floor, The Bank of East Asia Building 10 Des Voeux Road Central, Hong Kong www.onc.hk Raymond Cheung Partner Head of Corporate & Commercial Department Direct line: (852) 2107 0347 Email: raymond.cheung@onc.hk Angel Wong Associate Direct line: (852) 2107 0311 Email: angel.wong@onc.hk

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HONG KONG IPO GUIDE 2013

Chapter 2: The Role of Reporting Accountants

U

nder Hong Kong’s listing rules, it’s mandatory to engage Reporting Accountants to assess and report on the financial information in a company’s Prospectus. The contents of the Prospectus, which serves as an invitation to the public to subscribe for or purchase shares or debentures in a company, are governed by the relevant Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s (HKEx) Main Board/GEM Board Listing Rules, the Hong Kong Companies Ordinance, the Securities (Disclosure of Interests) Ordinance and the Codes on Takeovers and Mergers and Share Repurchases. These rules specify that a Prospectus must include an accountant’s report. The accountants who prepare this report, known as the Reporting Accountants, must be qualified under the Professional Accountants Ordinance for appointment as an auditor. (For a list of qualified accountants in Hong Kong, refer to the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA).) According to the HKICPA Auditing Guideline AG 3.340 “Prospectus and The Reporting Accountant”:

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the reporting accountant for prospectuses is required to provide an independent statement of financial information for the company and the group (if applicable) concerned. This statement, which is to be supported by an opinion together with the other information in the prospectus supplied by the company and its independent valuers may assist potential investors in making a decision on whether or not to take up the offer or invitation to invest in the company or group which issues the prospectus.


Chapter 2: The Role of Reporting Accountants

What to Expect from Reporting Accountants

The Reporting Accountants will play an integral role in a company’s IPO. To ensure a smooth and efficient IPO process, it is vital to engage Reporting Accountants very early in the planning process, ideally before the board obtains shareholder approval to proceed with a listing. The Reporting Accountants will thoroughly examine the company’s books and its structure to ensure the company will be able to comply with all of Hong Kong’s listing rules and regulations, generally-accepted accounting practices and the relevant financial reporting standards. In some cases, the Reporting Accountants may assist in a group restructure. In other cases, the Reporting Accountants can provide guidelines to assist the company’s internal accountant to reconstruct financial details in order for the company's records to meet the rules for listed companies. The Reporting Accountants can conduct a tax compliance review to ensure any potential tax issues are resolved in a timely manner, well before the company lists. The Reporting Accountants also have a key role to play in the preparation of the company’s Prospectus. They are required to prepare an accountant’s report on the company’s historical financial information and the statement of adjustments. The Reporting Accountants will comment on the company’s working capital sufficiency, debt status, net tangible assets, related party transactions and any profit forecast and other financial information that is included in the Prospectus. The Reporting Accountants need to verify the financial information set out in the other parts of the Prospectus and ensure all the information is consistent with the Accountants’ Report. To complete all these tasks, the Reporting Accountant will need to attend meetings with parties involved in the IPO process, including the sponsors, lawyers and valuers. The Reporting Accountants will also be on hand to assist management deal with any queries raised by the HKEx.

Reporting Accountants Will Prepare:

An Accountants’ Report The Accountants’ Report must detail the issuer’s historical financial information during the trade record period (“Relevant Period”). The Relevant Period should cover the financial statements from at least the three financial years immediately preceding the issue of the Prospectus for Main Board applicants and at least two financial years for GEM Board applicants. The Relevant Period must have ended six months or less before the issue of Prospectus. In cases where the time between the end of the last reporting period and the date of the Prospectus is more than six months, financial statements for the interim period, generally referred to as the stub period, can be provided. The comparative figures of the stub period must be reviewed by the Reporting Accountants under Hong Kong Standards on Review Engagements (HKSRE) 2410 Review of Interim Financial Information.

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The financial information should be prepared in accordance with the Hong Kong Financial Reporting Standards (HKFRS) or International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). A People’s Republic of China (PRC) issuer also has the option of presenting its financial information under the China Accounting Standards for Business Enterprises (China GAAP). The financial information must include a statement of comprehensive income, financial position, cash flows and any changes in equity during the reporting periods. Additional Information The HKEx may require additional information to be disclosed in the Accountant’s Report if it is considered necessary for potential investors to understand more of the issuer’s financial performance and positions. In some cases, the HKEx may request the Prospectus to include financial details and projections of newly acquired subsidiaries to give prospective investors a thorough understanding of the expected financial role of the new unit in the listed group. Directors are responsible for the preparation of the Financial Information, and the Reporting Accountants are responsible for obtaining sufficient relevant and reliable evidence to form an opinion. The Reporting Accountant’s opinion should draw attention to the following matters: – that the financial information is based on the audited financial statements of the company and its subsidiaries; – that all adjustments considered necessary have been made (or that no adjustments were considered necessary); – that work has been carried out in accordance with AG3.340 of the HKICPA Members’ Handbook Volume III Auditing and Assurance Standards; and – whether or not the financial information gives a true and fair view of the company’s financial affairs and the results for the Relevant Period. A Statement of Adjustments According to the HKEx listing rules, the Reporting Accountants are required to prepare a statement of adjustments to reconcile the figures included in the statutory audited financial statements to the figures in the Accountants’ Report. This statement of adjustments, which will be available publicly, must identify each adjustment and spell out the reasons for each adjustment. Adjustments to previous audited financial statements may be made for the following reasons: • To ensure the financial information is presented in the Accountants’ Report in a consistent and comparable basis. For example, ensuring the value of various company properties are calculated using the same method. • Correction of material errors, reclassification of balance sheet items and other matters considered appropriate by the Reporting Accountant.

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Pro Forma Financial Information Listing rules require the Prospectus to present pro forma financial information in certain circumstances. The pro forma financial information should show how the company’s historical financial statements would appear if a transaction, such as a major acquisition, had been made at an earlier date. A pro forma would be required if the issuer made a major acquisition after its most recent reporting period. The financial statements of the acquired subsidiary would be included in a pro forma which re-reports the financial affairs of the enlarged group as if the transaction had been in effect on the last date of the financial information. Accounting Guideline 7 of the HKICPA Members’ Handbook Volume II Financial Reporting Standards, entitled “Preparation of Pro Forma Financial Information for Inclusion in Investment Circulars”, has more guidance about the preparation of pro forma statements. Hong Kong’s listing regulations also require a net tangible asset statement backing for each class of security for which a listing is being sought. This statement should be prepared taking the proposed new shares into account as detailed in the Prospectus. Where there is any pro forma information in the Prospectus, the Reporting Accountants are required to prepare a report on the pro forma financial information in accordance with Hong Kong Standards on Investment Circular Reporting Engagements (HKSIR) 300 – Accountants’ Report on Pro Forma Financial Information in Investment Circulars and give an opinion as to whether: – The pro forma financial information has been properly compiled on the basis stated; – The basis of the pro forma information is consistent with the accounting policies of the issuer; and – Any adjustments for the purposes of the pro forma financial information are appropriate. The work of the Reporting Accountants primarily consists of comparing the unadjusted financial information with the source documents, considering the evidence supporting any adjustments and making enquiries of the directors regarding the process. This does not constitute an audit or review. Review of Working Capital Sufficiency Listing rules require the directors to state in the Prospectus whether the issuer’s working capital is sufficient for the group’s requirements for at least 12 months from the date of the publication of the Prospectus. If the working capital is not deemed sufficient, the Prospectus should outline how the directors propose to raise additional working capital. As a general practice, the directors would prepare a cash flow forecast to illustrate working capital sufficiency. The cashflow forecast should cover at least one year from the date of the Prospectus. The Reporting Accountants are engaged to review the assumptions of the cashflow

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forecasts by referring to existing or future facilities and resources available to the issuer, which may include existing loan facilities and credit policies of suppliers and customers. The Reporting Accountant gives a private comfort letter to the directors to confirm whether 1) the statement of the directors on the adequacy of the working capital has been made after due and careful enquiry and 2) the persons or institutions providing finance to the issuer have stated in writing that the relevant financing facilities exist. Consent Letter If a Prospectus contains any statement made by experts such as Reporting Accountants or legal advisors involved in the IPO process, the expert must provide a letter of consent to the issue of the Prospectus. The Reporting Accountant must gives consent to the publication of the prospectus containing his or her report and statements, include the accountant’s reports and the comfort letters that address the profit forecast. These consent letters need to be filed with the Registrar of Companies and the HKEx and are available for public inspection. Indebtedness As part of the IPO process, the issuer must disclose their level of indebtedness, including bank loans, overdrafts or similar indebtedness, hire purchase commitments, guarantees or other material contingent liabilities, as at the latest practicable date. If there are no borrowings, the issuer should record a “nil” statement in the Prospectus. This is sometimes called a negative statement. The indebtedness statement should be dated less than two calendar months from the publication of the Prospectus. It is the responsibility of the directors to prepare this statement. The Reporting Accountants are engaged to form and provide a private letter of comfort, which may contain a negative assurance in relation to the issuer’s borrowings in the form of a statement declaring “nothing has come to our attention to indicate that any adjustments should be made to the statement of indebtedness”. Review of Profit Forecasts It is not mandatory for a Prospectus to include a profit forecast. However, if the issuer chooses to include this information, the Reporting Accountants should review and report on the profit forecast. Any profit forecasts in the Prospectus should be prepared in accordance with the profit forecast regulations that apply to listed companies. Profit forecasts should be compiled with the greatest possible care by directors and must clearly state the assumptions upon which the forecasts are based. The Reporting Accountants should examine and report on the accounting policies and calculations used in the profit forecast and indicate whether the accounting policies differ from the policies adopted in the issuer’s financial statements. The directors assume full responsibility for the profit forecast and their approval of the profit forecast should be noted in Board minutes. There is also a requirement that the sponsor

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should report whether or not they have satisfied themselves that the forecast was prepared by the directors after due and careful enquiry. It is not the Reporting Accountants’ responsibility to report upon the assumptions upon which the profit forecast is based or state whether or not the company is likely to meet the profit forecast. However, the Reporting Accountants should note in their report if there are any assumptions that appear unrealistic or if any seemingly important information has been omitted. The issuer’s directors or the sponsors decide the forecast period. The forecast period usually begins one year or less from the date covered by the most recent audited financial statements and ends at the end of the next financial year or half year. In practice, it is unusual to provide a forecast for a succeeding period unless: (a) at least 10 months of the current period has elapsed; and (b) the company’s operations lend themselves to reasonably accurate forecasting such as in the case of a property investment company. The Reporting Accountant should review and form an opinion on the forecast in accordance with the requirements of Auditing Guideline 3.341, “Accountants’ Report on Profit Forecasts” that:

the profit forecast, so far as the accounting policies and calculations are concerned, has been properly compiled on the footing of the assumptions made by the board of directors, as set out in the prospectus, and is presented on a basis consistent with the accounting policies normally adopted by the issuer. As part of the review procedures, the Reporting Accountants are required to:

– Understand the nature of the business and the market conditions – Understand the existing group structure (and any potential changes during the forecast period) – Understand the procedures the directors used to prepare the forecast – Assess the quality of any previous forecasts – Compare and update the forecast with actual figures – Enquire how the assumptions were arrived at – Query any assumptions which appear inappropriate or unrealistic

Related Party Transactions

Hong Kong Accounting Standards (International Accounting Standard 24) contains the definitions of related parties, and the HKEx’s listing rules also contain requirements for the disclosure of connected party transactions. Related party transactions can include sales, purchases or advances between the issuer and companies controlled by directors, associated

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companies, joint ventures, key management personnel and/or major shareholders. Over the past decade, the definition of related party has been broadened to include key management personnel. The purpose of disclosing related party transactions is to ensure a company’s financial statements draw potential investors’ attention to the possibility that the company’s financial position and profits or losses may have been affected by the existence of related parties and by transactions and outstanding balances with such parties. A related party relationship could have an effect on the profits or losses and financial position of an entity. Related parties may also enter into transactions that unrelated parties would not. For example, an entity that sells goods to its parent at cost might not sell on those terms to another customer. Also, transactions between related parties may not be set at the same amounts as between unrelated parties. Therefore, the existence of related party transactions may affect how potential investors assess a company’s operations and the Prospectus should set out the risks and opportunities that these related party transactions create. The related party disclosure requirements can present a particular problem for Mainland Chinese companies seeking to list on the HKEx. Many of these enterprises have experienced tremendous growth in business operations during the past decade and usually the structure of the organizations have not kept pace with the growth. Experience has shown us that the senior managers of these companies generally do not understand related party transactions as defined by HKFRS and Hong Kong's listing rules. Mainland Chinese companies may not have kept complete records of related party transactions and may not have adequate internal controls for such transactions. Also, major related party transactions originating at the subsidiary level may not have been adequately reported back to the head office. It is also common for Chinese companies to have no separation of the business/cash flows between the owners’ fund and the monies generated by the operations. Certain cash in and out through the owners’ bank accounts may not be properly identified and recorded. The Reporting Accountants are required to obtain an understanding of the nature and business rationale of a company's related party relationships and transactions sufficient to identify, assess and respond to the risks of material misstatement resulting from them. It is sometimes difficult to identify related party relationships and transactions if these are not identified or disclosed by management. In some circumstances, particularly in the absence of proper records, the Reporting Accountants may need to rely on the management's representation of these related party transactions. The Reporting Accountants may need to use the following procedures to identify related party transactions: • requesting from management personnel a list of related parties and any transactions the company has completed with those parties during the trade record period; • reviewing the Board minutes for authorization of transactions; • understanding and evaluating investment transactions; for example, the purchase or sale

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Chapter 2: The Role of Reporting Accountants

of an equity interest in a joint venture or other entity; • reviewing accounting records for material, unusual or nonrecurring transactions or balances; for example, loans to officers, directors, associated companies and individual parties; and • conducting background checks, possibly by performing a company search or conducing site visit, of certain parties who have material or unusual transactions with the enterprise. In some instances, the HKEx may require the Reporting Accountants to perform a reconciliation of the disclosure figures with the local financial statements disclosed by other parties involved in transactions. The issuer may have to consider if these types of transactions will continue after listing.

Adopting International Standards

In some cases, the existing financial statements of all the companies in the proposed listed group may not have been prepared in compliance with HKFRS, IFRS or China GAAP. There may also be some cases where accounting policies are not consistent across the group. The Reporting Accountants can advise how to handle this situation.

Company Restructures

As part of the listing process, it is common for companies to undergo a group reorganization. For example, if two entities are commonly controlled by the company founder but are not under the same holding company, the company may be restructured into a group. The reorganization may involve the transfer of some assets or businesses. The Reporting Accountants should be involved in this process to monitor any accounting issues arising from the transaction. A tax review is also likely to be required to ensure the new structure is tax efficient.

Reconstruction of Accounts

In cases where the company has not kept adequate accounts and records, its internal accountant needs to reconstruct these books and records for the purpose of listing. This is often necessary for Chinese private entities. In some cases, the company may not have details of unit costs, gross margin analysis and inventory movement. The Reporting Accountants can provide guidelines to the internal accountants to assist with this process.

Compliance Reviews

Even before a decision is made to pursue an IPO, Reporting Accountants can perform a compliance check on the company’s accounting policies and general accounting practices (for example, revenue recognition and impairment methods) to ascertain if the accounts comply with generally-accepted accounting practices and Hong Kong’s listing rules. Reporting Accountants can also conduct a tax compliance review before the end of the three-year trade record period to ensure any potential tax issues are resolved in a timely manner.

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The Reporting Accountants are able to assist in collecting information to ensure the company fulfills the comprehensive and complicated disclosure requirements for related party transactions. Reporting Accountants can also review previously issued qualified financial statements. In some cases, companies within a listed group may have qualified financial statements because consolidated accounts were not prepared or a year-end physical stock count was not undertaken. In some cases, the Reporting Accountants can make additional adjustments to resolve these qualifications so no further qualifications are required in the accountants’ report in the Prospectus. The Reporting Accountants a company engages should have extensive experience in dealing with the HKEx. They will be able to draw on this experience to provide valuable advice to ensure the issuer is fully prepared for the IPO process.

Things to consider when appointing a Reporting Accountant Choosing experienced and competent Reporting Accountants can simplify the IPO process and reduce the chance of any unexpected surprises. Things to consider when selecting a Reporting Accountant include: – The reputation of the accounting firm, particularly its IPO services – The Reporting Accountants’ expertise in the issuer’s industry and business activities – Whether the nominated Reporting Accountants are qualified under the Professional Accountants Ordinance – The Reporting Accountants’ experience in working on similar listing arrangements or group reorganizations – Whether the Reporting Accountants’ fees are acceptable and reasonable (taking into account the size and complexity of the engagement) – Scope coverage – whether the Reporting Accountants can cover all the primary roles and responsibilities as set out in this chapter. It is very unusual to appoint different parties for these requirements and the most cost- and time-efficient solution is to have one Reporting Accountant firm providing audit, tax and other IPO due diligence work – If there is any litigation involved by the potential accounting firm and/or any litigation relating to the issuer’s planned IPO – Whether the company and the Reporting Accountant firm can set a mutually agreed timetable that will allow both parties to meet the tight deadlines of the IPO process – Any conflicts with the listing group’s management and/or owners which may affect the independence of the Reporting Accountants

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Chapter 2: The Role of Reporting Accountants

Summary of the Role of Reporting Accountants and Conclusion

Reporting Accountants, while compulsory for the IPO process, can assist a company greatly as it moves into a new phase of its existence – becoming a Hong Kong-listed entity. As this chapter demonstrates, experienced Reporting Accountants can offer a range of assistance above and beyond merely ensuring the IPO process runs smoothly and efficiently and the company meets all its compliance obligations.

Contact KCS Hong Kong Limited 8th Floor, Gloucester Tower, The Landmark, 15 Queen’s Road Central Hong Kong Telephone: +852 3589 8899 Fax: +852 3589 8555 Email: hongkong@kcs.com

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Chapter 3: Financial Information Requirements and Transforming the Business

Chapter 3: Financial Information Requirements and Transforming the Business

A

s this guide is published for general reference purposes, the matters dealt with in this chapter can only be written at a high level. Under certain restricted conditions, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx) may, at its discretion, give listing applicants exemptions from full compliance with the relevant parts of the listing rules described below. These exemptions would be granted on a case-by-case basis. Since 2010, there has been an increased interest, particularly from overseas listing applicants, in secondary listings. The HKEx is more inclined to grant waivers for listing applicants seeking a secondary listing where they can demonstrate that they are already subject to appropriate and comparable regulation in their primary market. The information in this chapter focuses on the requirements for a listing applicant seeking a primary listing. It expands in more detail the financial information requirements discussed in Chapter 2, and then covers the important issue of the transformation of the business that is likely to be required before it should be listed in Hong Kong.

Financial Information Requirements Accountant’s Report

A company seeking to become public needs to include financial information in its prospectus to enable potential investors to assess the financial performance and position of the Group. This financial information must cover the three years immediately preceding the date of the prospectus for a Main Board listing applicant, and at least the two preceding years for the GEM Board. The latest period presented must not be older than six months at the date of publication of the prospectus. This often results in an additional “stub period� being presented along with comparative information.

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The role of the Reporting Accountant is to give an opinion on this financial information as to whether or not it gives a true and fair view of the results and cash flows for each of the periods reported on, and the balance sheet as at the end of each of the periods presented. This audited financial information is presented in an “Accountant’s Report” and usually included as an appendix to the prospectus. A company will want to ensure that it discusses the Accountant’s Report early on with their Reporting Accountant as the company’s financial information included in an IPO prospectus will have to conform to positions and practices prescribed by the Hong Kong Listing Rules and the Hong Kong Companies Ordinance which may be different than the financial statements a company previously prepared, for example, they may be stated in local GAAP rather than accounting standards acceptable to the HKEx, or the company to be listed may be a division of a larger existing company. If so, the Reporting Accountant will assist the company in drawing up the required additional financial information. This can often be a significant and time consuming exercise. The HKEx currently accepts financial information presented in accordance with Hong Kong Financial Reporting Standards (HKFRS), International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), and China Accounting Standards (for PRC issuers). However, a company should discuss the likely target market for their potential shareholders with their investment bank as certain investors may have a preference for the use of certain accounting standards. As a company gains financial sophistication, it should also begin preparing interim financial statements. Preparing these statements in a timely manner can add to an investment bank’s positive evaluation of a company. In addition, starting to prepare interim financial statements can help expedite the IPO process, as they may be required to be included in the Accountant’s Report, depending on when the prospectus will be issued.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis

A stumbling block that many companies face is their inability to describe the effect of underlying factors on the company’s performance. A prospectus and all future financial statements will require the inclusion of a Management’s Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) related to a company’s financial statements. This is a quantitative and qualitative discussion of a company’s performance. The company will need to describe in-depth such items as changes in sales volumes and cost structures, liquidity and capital resources, sources and uses of cash flows, vendor relationships, employee compensation, unusual nonrecurring charges, significant environmental exposures, and other risks and uncertainties. A robust and detailed MD&A with the ability to clearly explain performance greatly assists the HKEx in assessing whether an applicant is suitable for listing and also assists the company in communicating with potential investors. The practice of writing quality, comprehensive MD&As will therefore expedite a company’s IPO process and be a major step toward operating like a public company

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Chapter 3: Financial Information Requirements and Transforming the Business

Pro Forma Financial Information

The Listing Rules require all listing applicants to include in their prospectus information showing the net tangible asset backing for each class of security for which a listing is being sought. This information is included in the prospectus to provide potential investors with information about how the listing of the applicant’s shares would have affected the financial information of the company. It is presented by using the latest audited balance sheet financial information included in the Accountant’s Report and adjusting it to reflect the listing proceeds and number of shares to be issued. This information is prepared by the directors and included as an appendix to the prospectus. The listing rules also require the listing applicant to engage its Reporting Accountant to report on the pro forma financial information stating whether it has been compiled on the basis stated, in accordance with the Group’s accounting policies and the adjustments are compliant with the Listing Rules. The report on is also set out in the prospectus. The pro forma statement is often the last part of the financial information to be produced as it cannot be completed until the proceeds of the offering are known.

Profit Forecasts

There is no requirement under the Listing Rules or Companies Ordinance to include a profit forecast in the prospectus. Listing applicants may wish to include a profit forecast voluntarily after discussion with their investment banks if they believe it would be significantly beneficial to the offering process and marketability of the shares. Where a profit forecast appears in a prospectus the Listing Rules require it to be clear, unambiguous and presented in an explicit manner and the principal assumptions, including commercial assumptions, upon which it is based must be stated. The Listing Rules also require that, if a profit forecast is included within a prospectus, it is accompanied by a report from the Reporting Accountant’s stating that it has been prepared on the basis stated. The Reporting Accountant’s are also required to state in their report whether they consider any of the assumptions used in preparing the profit forecast are unreasonable. Subsequent to its listing, the period that was the subject of the forecast must be audited and for this reason, profit forecasts are generally only presented for the period to the issuer’s next financial year end date to avoid additional audit costs. If an issuer’s actual results are significantly different from the information that was forecast in the prospectus, that issuer must explain the differences in their annual or interim report. The inclusion of a profit forecast carries with it an increased level of risk to the directors of the issuer and a company should consider carefully whether the cost and benefit of inclusion of such information is signficantly beneficial to the offering. As part of the HKEx vetting process an issuer must submit a profit forecast memorandum the HKEx covering the period to the issuer’s next year-end. This information is private and not included in the prospectus and is not required to be reported on by the Reporting Accountant. However, the directors should ensure that this information has been prepared on an appropriate basis similar to that required for inclusion in the prospectus, to enable

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the HKEx to asses the company’s prospects and disclosures about its future. The directors may request the Reporting Accountant’s to provide feedback on the form and content of this memorandum. The profit forecast memorandum is usually combined with the working capital memorandum (see below).

Statement of Indebtedness

A listing applicant must disclose in its prospectus details of the Group’s indebtedness at the most recent practicable date prior to publication of the prospectus. The objective of this disclosure is to give potential investors more up to date information of the applicant’s financial position since the latest audited balance sheet included in the Accountant’s Report. The definition of indebtedness in the listing rules includes the Group’s loan capital, borrowings, mortgages or charges and indebtedness and contingent liabilities. There is no formal guidance on the definition of “the most recent practicable date”. However, in practice the HKEx will accept no more than eight weeks from the date of the prospectus. Issuers will usually engage their Reporting Accountant to issue a comfort letter on the indebtedness statement that involves the independent confirmation of indebtedness with the relevant counterparties. The report from the Reporting Accountant to the directors of the listing applicant is a private letter and is not included or referred to in the prospectus.

Statement on Sufficiency of Working Capital

The listing rules require the directors of listing applicants to state in the prospectus that, in their opinion, the applicant's working capital is sufficient for the Group’s requirements for at least 12 months from the date of publication of the prospectus or, if not, how it is proposed to provide the additional working capital considered by the directors as necessary. In order to make this statement, and to demonstrate to the Sponsor that the company has been through due process, the directors usually prepare a detailed working capital forecast memorandum which includes the Group’s forecast cash flows for that period, usually on a monthly basis, together with the key assumptions and sensitivities. This memorandum is then approved by the applicant’s board prior to issuing the prospectus. To assist the directors, the Reporting Accountant is usually engaged by the company to review the cash flow forecast prepared by the listing applicant. The Reporting Accountant will review the assumptions adopted by the directors, compare the cash flows in the forecast with the facilities and resources available to the listing Group and check the arithmetical accuracy of the forecast. The Reporting Accountant will issue a comfort letter stating whether in their opinion the working capital statement has been made by the directors after due and careful enquiry. As part of the vetting process, the Sponsor is also required by the Listing Rules to confirm to the HKEx in writing that they are satisfied that the directors opinion on the adequacy of working capital is given after due and careful enquiry. Therefore the Sponsor will also need to be closely involved in understanding the basis of preparation of the cash flow forecasts and the directors’ internal assurance process.

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Comfort Letter on Other Matters

As part of their due diligence procedures, the Sponsor will request comfort letters from a company’s Reporting Accountant relating to information that appears in the registration statement outside of the Accountant’s Report. It is common for Sponsors to request comfort on as much information as possible. The applicable Hong Kong auditing standards for investment circular reporting allow the Reporting Accountant to provide comfort on information that is derived from accounting records that are subject to the company’s internal control over financial reporting. Generally, the more information the Sponsor seeks comfort on, the more expensive the process becomes. In light of this, and to avoid any misunderstandings and undue time delays, it is important that a company, the Reporting Accountant, and Sponsors agree, in the early stages of the drafting process, on the information about which the Reporting Accountant will be giving comfort. It is the responsibility of the Sponsors to determine what kind of procedures are appropriate, and the work performed by the Reporting Accountant does not release the Sponsors from their responsibilities under the listing rules. The Reporting Accountant will report to the company and Sponsors in a private letter not available to the public.

Other Financial Information to be Submitted to the HKEx

As part of the listing application process, the HKEx requires the listing applicant to submit additional schedules to the HKEx to assist in their vetting of the application. This additional information is not included in the prospectus and some items that need to be submitted may not be information that the applicant prepares or reviews on a regular basis. The information to be submitted as part of the first filing to the HKEx includes details of top five customers and suppliers, ageing analysis of accounts receivable and payable including details of subsequent settlement, ageing and usage of inventory. These areas are often problematic and time consuming for issuers to prepare. The Reporting Accountant is not required to provide any comfort on these schedules but may be asked to provide comments on the form and content of such information.

Transforming the Business

The IPO process is not the end of the story—it is only the beginning. Once listed, a company will be under far greater public scrutiny and will have a range of continuing obligations with which to comply. Any weakness in systems or failure to comply with regulations could cause management public embarrassment, reputational damage, and the potential for company and personal fines. The benefits of careful preparation and planning are realised within the first year of the IPO. Public companies are required to comply with a host of reporting and other requirements. The most significant change for many companies is the need to disclose and report publicly on their financial results on an accelerated timeline and to comply with corporate governance requirements and market expectations. This is a process the company will need to be fully prepared to meet; the inability to meet these requirements will shake investor confidence or

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subject the company to a delisting. Throughout the IPO process, the company will need to be prepared to discuss their IPO readiness plan and must be sure that it can comply with these requirements. This preparation process can often be lengthy, depending on the current maturity of a company’s existing processes. It is vital that the company understand and address any gaps before going public. The magnitude of the required improvements will determine the number of resources required. Many companies have resource constraints during the going-public process, during which there is so much attention being paid to the initial filing documents and the marketing efforts.

Recruiting a Strategic Board

In any public offering, the quality of the leadership team is a key factor. It is vital to ensure that the board of directors as well as management has the right blend of experience and skills to establish the optimal corporate governance structure and ensure that the board committees are operating effectively. To gain credibility with the investing public, the organisation must have experienced leadership that functions well as a team. Ownership by management demonstrates to investors that it has a vested interest in the company’s future. To have a successful IPO, management must be committed to the time and effort involved in meeting registration requirements, conducting analyst and other investor-facing meetings, and providing financial information required by both the Hong Kong Listing Rules and shareholders on a timely basis. It must also be prepared to upgrade the company’s system of management controls and financial reporting well in advance of the offering to ensure compliance with full disclosure requirements and shorter financial reporting deadlines, both of which are necessary to maintain credibility and investor confidence after the IPO. As a company prepares for its IPO, it must expand its management capabilities. The investment community wants to be sure that the management running a company is not a “one-man band.” This may require adding individuals with public company experience in marketing, operations, development, and finance. Many companies also want to put a Chief Financial Officer in place who has previously been through the IPO process. The team needs to be cohesive and share a long-term vision for the company to obtain maximum financial return and valuation. One of the best sources of objective advice can come from an independent or outside director. The Hong Kong Corporate Governance Code requires a listed company to have at least three independence non-executives who must also comprise at least one third of the board. A company should not wait until the last minute to begin its search for qualified outside board members. A potential board member who is unfamiliar with a company may be reluctant to join the board immediately prior to an IPO, since a director has responsibility for information contained in or omitted from the offering document. Often a company’s Sponsor, Reporting Accountant and lawyers can assist in connecting listing applicants with potential candidates to fill certain skill gaps.

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Assessment of Internal Controls

As part of the listing application process, the Sponsor is required to confirm, as part of its declaration to the HKEx that it reasonably believes the applicant has established procedures, systems and controls (including accounting and management systems) which adequately address the obligations of the company and its directors to comply with the Listing Rules and other relevant legal and regulatory requirements. Such procedures, systems and controls should enable the Company’s directors to make a proper assessment of the financial position and prospects of the company and the related Group of companies, both before and after listing. The Sponsor must also confirm that the designated company directors should collectively have the experience, qualifications and competence to manage the company’s business and to comply with the Listing Rules. Individually, the directors should also possess the experience, qualifications and competence to perform their individual roles, including an understanding of what is expected of them and the their obligations to the company as an issuer under the Listing Rules and other legal or regulatory requirements relevant to their role. The HKEx has issued Practice Note 21 (PN21) to clarify to Sponsors the expected due diligence procedures to be performed as part of the listing application. Market practice is for the Sponsor to engage third party professionals to assist with the due diligence process, in particular the assessment of corporate governance and internal control systems. Therefore as part of the listing process, the listing applicant will likely require an internal control consultant to perform a review of the Group’s corporate governance and internal controls over financial reporting at the request of the Sponsor which usually cover the following areas: • • • • •

Control Environment Risk Assessment Information and Communication Monitoring Control Activities

This process usually identifies a number of areas that will need to be remediated prior to completion of the IPO therefore it is recommended that listing applicants engage with their Sponsor early in the process to ensure there is sufficient time to address any issues.

Meeting Reporting Requirements

Internal Monitoring of Performance Throughout the IPO process, Sponsors will ask for financial projections and will compare a company’s historical performance to its past budgets and also for the purposes of reviewing the applicants profit and working capital forecast memoranda. Accordingly, a company should establish a financial planning and analysis team, which should put a budget and forecasting process in place. The company should get into the habit of preparing realistic

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budgets, updated forecasts, and be able to articulate why variances have occurred. For the early-stage company, projections and market share are the most important measures of performance. After a company goes public, budgets and projections will become an important tool for research analysts. Furthermore, this information and a public company’s ability to meet its own earnings estimates and market commentators’ earnings estimates can have a significant impact on its stock performance. Therefore, accurate budgeting and forecasting is critical for a successful IPO, as the market gives very little margin of error in that area and punishes the stock for any significant underachievement. Periodic External Reporting of Performance Public companies are required by the Hong Kong Listing Rules to file certain periodic information to keep the investing public informed. As noted previously, preparing to meet these requirements should be a focus for a company as goes through the IPO process. Companies should discuss their obligations under the various regulations with their lawyers and accountants at the beginning to lay out the obligations and ensure they can be met. A financial public relations firm can assist companies with furnishing annual reports to shareholders. The table below presents an overview of the basic reporting requirements for Main Board listed public companies:

Reporting Annual Results Announcement

Annual Financial Report

Half-Yearly Report

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Requirements • Based on financial statements and agreed with auditors • Primary financial statements and significant notes • Business review • Audited financial statements prepared in accordance with HKFRS/IFRS • A management report • An appropriate statement of assurance from the directors • An audit report • A corporate governance report • A condensed set of financial statements prepared in accordance with HKFRS/IFRS • A business review • An appropriate statement of assurance from the directors • An interim review by the auditors (optional)

Timing Within three months from year end date

Within four months from year end date

Results announcement within two months, report within three months from half-year end date


Chapter 3: Financial Information Requirements and Transforming the Business

Timely Disclosure of Inside Information A public company should disclose all inside information both favorable and unfavorable, as promptly as possible. Information that is generally considered material includes: significant financial transactions, new products or services, acquisitions or dispositions of assets, dividend changes, and top management or control changes. The disclosure of such information should be made as soon as it is reasonably accurate and full details are available to the company. This information is usually disseminated by press releases. Generally, the need to disclose information should be discussed with a company's legal counsel.

Key Elements of Effective Corporate Governance and Internal Control

Given the level of interest by institutional investors and the investing public in corporate governance matters, it is important for companies to take a close look at their corporate governance principles and practices when planning the public offering process. The framework for Corporate Governance for listed companies in Hong Kong is set out in the Corporate Governance Code and Corporate Governance Report (the Code) included as Appendix 14 to the Main Board Listing Rules. Appendix 14 also sets out the required contents of annual reporting of corporate governance to shareholders. Chapter 3 of the Main Board Listing Rules also require the Board to comprise at least one third independent directors and the formation of audit and remuneration committees. The Code sets out a number of “principles” followed by code provisions and recommended best practices. It is important to recognise that the code provisions and recommended best practices are not mandatory rules. The Exchange does not envisage a “one size fits all” approach. Deviations from code provisions are acceptable if the issuer considers there are more suitable ways for it to comply with the principles. Therefore the Code permits greater flexibility than the Listing Rules, reflecting that it is impractical to define in detail the behaviour necessary from all issuers to achieve good corporate governance. Section C.2 of the Code sets out the HKEx’s views on internal control. Directors are expected to conduct a review of the effectiveness of the systems of internal control of the issuer and its subsidiaries at least annually and report to shareholders that they have done so in their Corporate Governance Report (CGR). The review should cover all material controls, including financial, operational and compliance controls and risk management functions. In order to comply with the Code in relation to internal control, the Boards of listed companies should: 1) Assess how the company has applied this Code principle; 2) Implement the requirements of the Code provisions; and 3) Report on these matters to shareholders in the CGR.

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IPO Readiness Assessment

Undertaking a structured exercise to analyse a company’s state of preparedness for going public can give management a full understanding of key IPO issues as they apply to the company. The assessment process allows a company to identify and resolve issues at an early stage, thereby saving time and money. Advance planning helps you minimise the impact of potentially unpleasant surprises and be prepared to benefit from any positive market movements. In our experience, businesses that have undertaken a full pre-IPO readiness exercise are those that are best prepared to handle the complexities of the IPO transaction. The right amount of preparation also helps companies establish a timetable based on the offering’s strategic objectives, specific business issues and the actual work that needs to be performed. Such an assessment provides a reasonable basis for discussions with stakeholders about timing. The diagram below sets out a preliminary framework for assessing IPO readiness: Framework for assessing IPO readiness Eligibility for listing Equity story Financial history

Private

Mid-stage

IPO ready

Unknown Proprietor focus Separate accounts

Assessed Developed IFRS/HKFRS consolidated accounts Rationalised

Compliant Coherent and robust IFRS/HKFRS 3-year record Efficient tax and legal structure Reliable working capital forecasts Mitigation and disclosure strategy Governance procedures

Corporate structure Legacy businesses Forecasting

High level plan

Taxation

Unassessed risks

Accrual based forecasting Assessed risks

Proprietor discipline Professional Corporate management governance, financial control and risk management Financial reporting Statutory filings only IFRS/HKFRS reporting Due diligence Due diligence Some information readiness readiness

Annual and interim reporting Full information available

A typical IPO readiness assessment would addresses the following questions: – What does being a public company really mean? – How long will it take to complete an IPO? – Do we have the right resources?

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– – – – – – – – – – – – –

Are my people ready? Do we have an attractive story for potential investors? What is the best way to articulate our strategy? What are the corporate governance issues we need to address? How many non-affiliated directors should we have on the board? What are the implications of a concurrent offering of shares to sophisticated investors in the United States (via Rule 144A of the US Securities Act of 1933)? How do our accounting policies compare with other companies in the sector? Is my finance function ready? Are my operations run and managed effectively? What additional disclosures will we need to provide as a public company? Will it be a problem if one of our subsidiaries has a modified audit opinion? Do we need to restate our track record for recent acquisitions and disposals? How will an IPO affect our existing incentive arrangements?

Contact PwC Hong Kong 22/F Prince’s Building, Central, Hong Kong Website: www.pwchk.com Dan Barker, Senior Manager – Capital Market Services Group Tel: +852 2289 1570 Email: daniel.sc.barker@hk.pwc.com

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Chapter 4: Structuring the Deal with the Investment Banks

C

onducting an initial public offering (IPO) is often the culmination of years of hard work for an issuer’s senior management team and its shareholders. In addition to financial rewards, it enables a business to reach a critical stage in its corporate development. But at the same time, the experience can be a daunting one, with multiple working parties; numerous and multi-faceted demands on executives; a tight timetable and, increasingly, a background of recurring market volatility. A listing also makes companies more accountable through disclosure and stock exchange requirements, both at the time of listing, and on an ongoing basis thereafter. In this chapter, the basic offer structure for an IPO will be examined. I will look at the key building blocks of a transaction and at the process of appointing investment banks tasked with helping the issuer. I will also focus on a handful of topical issues that include cornerstone investors, the increasing internationalisation of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (HKEx) – and on what it takes for an IPO to succeed in these challenging markets.

The Basic Offer Structure

Most IPOs are generally distributed to both domestic and international investors, as well as to retail and institutional accounts. Even if global in nature, a deal is therefore divided into several “tranches”, each targeting a defined group of investors. Typically this includes a global institutional tranche (or placement) and an offering to public (or retail) investors. Smaller IPOs in Asia are typically distributed regionally only, with international investors increasing proportionately to the size of the deal.

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For a relatively large transaction, say representing a multiple of US$100 million or equivalent, onshore “qualified institutional buyers” can be targeted in the United States through a private placement, under what is termed a Rule 144A offering – in addition to local institutional investors and institutions in other countries. The relative size of the retail offering in Hong Kong typically starts at 10% of the global offer, but can increase to up to 50% in a successful transaction thanks to claw-back triggers that automatically allocate more stock to the public, depending on how many times that tranche has been subscribed. The main purposes of the retail offering are to help generate liquidity in the aftermarket and to attain the minimum number of investors required for a listing (300 in Hong Kong). Underwriting arrangements differ for the various components of the offer structure, as defined for marketing purposes. Retail offerings are underwritten before stock is offered to the public, whereas institutional offerings are underwritten at the end of the order gathering (or bookbuilding) process, which is conducted on the basis of a price range. In addition, it is common for underwriting purposes to split the global institutional offering between a Rule 144A tranche and a non-US (or Regulation S) tranche. Lastly, the domestic institutional offering is generally underwritten as part of the latter tranche – and separately from the retail offering.

The Building Blocks of an IPO

Jurisdiction of Incorporation In Hong Kong, there are limitations on the jurisdiction in which the issuer can be incorporated. Historically, this was restricted, in addition to Hong Kong itself, to the mainland of China, the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. But over the last couple of years, HKEx has, at the time of writing, recognised 20 additional jurisdictions. Many of these are in the Americas and in Europe, but issuers from Australia, Japan or South Korea are now also welcome to the exchange. Eight international issuers have conducted IPOs in Hong Kong, with several more also listing there by way of introduction, that is without issuing or selling shares to investors, and through a secondary listing on top of one or more listings that they already have on other exchanges. It is important for such issuers to be able to demonstrate a close nexus with Greater China. Due Diligence, Prospectus Drafting Any IPO will invariably start with a kick-off meeting, at which the various parties appointed at the outset of the transaction will be introduced to each other. These will include at a minimum the lead banks; the legal advisers, to each of the issuer and the syndicate of underwriters; and the auditors – in addition to the issuer itself. This is generally followed by a series of due diligence meetings, a process which covers commercial, legal and financial aspects, and through which the parties are able to gain a detailed understanding of the company. This serves a dual purpose.

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The first is to ascertain that nothing is amiss with the business, and that the company and its management are fit to face public ownership. The second is to attain a level of understanding of the business such that a detailed prospectus (or offering circular), effectively summarising all the information needed by the market to make an informed decision about investing in the company, and in conformity with the requirements of the stock exchange can be drafted, and submitted for review ahead of the listing. In smaller transactions, drafting is sometimes by the lead investment bank itself, on behalf of the company. In larger deals, it’s usual for the legal advisers to the issuer to do this. In all cases, however, the responsibility for the contents of the document remains that of the issuer. This due diligence and drafting process can take several months. Much depends on the ability of the company to extract relevant information from its management information system, and on the capacity of senior staff to devote long hours to this exercise. Much also depends on the availability of financial information. When material acquisitions or disposals have taken place, it is also necessary to compile pro forma accounts, further impacting the timetable. Such information must also be recent. Not only to comply with the exchange’s requirements, but also so that the auditors are able to provide comfort on the financials included in the offering circular, failing which, a further review of the accounts may become necessary. Once the prospectus is almost completed, it is then sent for review to the relevant exchange. Cornerstone and Anchor Investors It has become increasingly common, especially with larger IPOs, to appoint cornerstone investors. Cornerstone investors buy shares at the offer price – they do not buy at a discount. The flipside is that they receive a guaranteed allocation. In Hong Kong, their name and their allocation are disclosed in the prospectus and they also have to agree to a lock up for a period of six months – that is, they have to abide to a moratorium on sales of shares they have been allocated in the IPO. By contrast, anchor investors are not disclosed but come in early with an order in the book – and will be well treated when it comes to allocations. They are also not required to agree to a lock-up. In both cases, their involvement has become essential for large deals to get done in difficult market conditions. This is because key to generating momentum is for the underwriters to be able to announce on the first day of bookbuilding that the book is already fully covered. This is obviously much easier if 30% to more than 60% of the deal is taken up by cornerstones, with a large proportion of the balance also allocated to anchor investors. Getting cornerstones and anchors on board takes time, so in most cases these accounts will have been engaged many months ahead of launch and will have met with management,

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Chapter 4: Structuring the deal with the investment banks

undertaken site visits and would have been sent – on a confidential basis – one or more drafts of the prospectus. Prospectus Review The review of the prospectus generally takes 10 to 12 weeks on average in Hong Kong. The stock exchange may ask for clarifications to be made, or request disclosure to be enhanced. This process culminates in a listing hearing, where the issuer is given the green light to go ahead with the transaction. Presentation to Research Analysts, Pre-deal Research and Investor Education Prior to the listing hearing, a presentation will have been made by management for the benefit of the research analysts from the various banks that form the syndicate of underwriters. This will generally last for several hours and its objective is to enable these analysts to each draft a detailed report, to be sent to institutional investors. The contents of such a report will be fairly similar to the business section of the prospectus, but its layout will be more “user-friendly”, as a marketing, rather than as a legal or disclosure, document. Research reports are, however, not sent to retail investors, who must therefore solely rely on the offering circular for their investment decision. Research is also not sent to investors in jurisdictions including the United States, Canada and Japan, because of local securities rules. Once “pre-deal” research reports have been published, the research analysts themselves will travel around the world to meet with institutions and pave the way for the actual order taking (or bookbuilding) process, which takes place simultaneously with the management roadshow. The purpose of this pre-deal investor education (or PDIE – also sometimes called premarketing) process is several. First, by conveying to the market the key themes of the investment case and the research analysts’ views on valuation, feedback is obtained. This enables the lead banks and the issuer to set a bookbuilding price range, which will be used to take orders from investors. Second, this process allows adjustments to be made or for recurring questions from investors to be addressed prior to management actually embarking on the roadshow to effectively help “sell” the deal. Bookbuilding and the Management Roadshow Once the price range has been determined, investors can start placing orders in the book of demand at prices within, and up to the top end of, the range. Simultaneously, management will travel for a series of “roadshow” presentations around the world to support this sales effort. These include a combination of large, theatre-style events, as well as small group and individual (or one-on-one) institutional meetings with the larger accounts. Towards the end of this process (or in some cases, as mentioned above, thereafter) the offer to retail investors also takes place.

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Pricing, Allocation, Listing, Start of Trading and Stabilisation Once the book of demand has been closed, generally lengthy discussions between the banks and the issuer and its shareholders ensue to determine the final offer price. This will reflect not only the level of over-subscription of the IPO, but also the more subjective quality of the institutions that have placed orders. Pricing an IPO is more of an art than a science. A wellsubscribed deal may actually trade down in the aftermarket if it has been subscribed by low quality investors. Once the offer price has been set, an often all night process of line-by-line institutional allocations follows to ensure not only that investors receive an amount of stock that encourages them to top up their holdings in the aftermarket, but also that a core group of significant holders can anchor the transaction – and remain as investors over the longer term. Retail investors, on the other hand are allocated more mechanically, through a balloting process for practical reasons. This process is followed by the formal listing of the company, and by the start of trading on the exchange. Within the first month of trading, it is sometimes necessary to stabilise the share price so as to smoothen imbalances that may exist between short-term sellers and buyers in the immediate aftermarket. This is done through what is called an over-allotment option (or greenshoe).

Appointing Investment Banks

In smaller deals, it is generally not necessary to appoint more than one investment bank. But for larger transactions, the syndicate structure for the IPO will likely comprise a variety of houses. Appointments therefore need to reflect a mix of firms with complementary strengths, including brokers with a strong global or regional reach, as well as others that are able to distribute equity securities to a combination of institutional and retail investors. The best way to do this is generally through a beauty parade, so as to create an element of competitiveness between brokers and negotiate the best possible terms for the issuer and any selling shareholders. An independent adviser or consultant can help to arrange this. Bookrunners Most important are the bookrunner banks. Nowadays, several houses are generally appointed in such a role in a joint capacity. The role of joint bookrunner is generally cumulated with other roles, as set out below. Bookrunners must be appointed to lead each tranche within the offer structure, i.e. at least a global institutional offering and a retail offering. The reason bookrunners are important is because they are responsible for the bulk of the sales effort when it comes to marketing the securities to institutional investors. Strong equity sales and research capabilities are a must in such a role. Bookrunners are therefore likely to arrange all (or virtually all) of the one-on-one meetings between management and large, individual institutional investors on the roadshow, and to capture pretty much all of the actual orders placed by institutions in the book of

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demand. They are also responsible for making recommendations to management and shareholders on the allocation of stock to individual institutional investors. One of the bookrunners must also be appointed at a later stage to stabilise the share price in the first days or weeks of trading, should this become necessary. Global Coordinators Bookrunners are generally also appointed as global coordinators of an IPO. It should be noted, however, that not all bookrunners need be appointed in such a position, although the reverse is not true – it would be pretty much unheard of for a global coordinator to not also be appointed as a bookrunner. This is largely a “prestige” appointment, which enables these houses to appear above the names of others on the cover of the offering circular as well as in “tombstone” advertisements to be published in the financial press. In addition, it’s usual for global coordinators to see their more senior role reflected in a higher underwriting amount and remuneration, including through a carve-out (or praecipium) from the fee pool that is payable to the bookrunners. They will also typically help structure the entire deal, whereas bookrunners often become involved more at the marketing stage. In several recent transactions, the bookrunners were appointed at the outset, with the issuer making global coordinator appointments only nearer the launch of the offering to reward those houses that were particularly helpful (or hard working) throughout the corporate finance execution phase of the transaction, as well as those that pulled their weight in the process for the selection and appointment of cornerstone investors. This is an interesting strategy, which can create an additional element of competitiveness between the senior banks. However, in such a case, the number of bookrunners appointed at the outset must be kept at a manageable level so as not to crowd drafting and execution meetings, which can result in inefficiencies, and also de-motivate the firms as a result of too large a senior syndicate. In addition, accounts that usually act as cornerstone investors have become notoriously choosy as market conditions have deteriorated. It is important to maintain excellent coordination throughout this process to ensure that consistent messages are being released to the market. Introducing an element of competition between too many houses could act to the detriment of the transaction, the issuer and selling shareholders. Sponsor Banks It’s also necessary to appoint one or several houses as sponsor banks. Their role is principally to liaise with the exchange to help the issuer negotiate the contents of the prospectus. This is essentially a documentation and coordination role. These are appointments that need to be decided prior to the start of due diligence and documentation. Again, it is common for this role to be cumulated with that of a global coordinator and (perhaps for some houses only) bookrunner. In large offerings, no separate remuneration

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is due to the banks appointed in such a position, although in smaller transactions a documentation fee is sometimes charged. Other Underwriter Roles All bookrunner banks are also appointed as joint lead managers. Conversely, it is possible to appoint joint lead managers that are not also bookrunners. It should be noted that in such a case, the ability of such joint lead managers to perform in the selling process is likely to be severely impaired because they will not have control of the institutional book of demand, and therefore no ability to make recommendations on investor allocations. Their underwriting and remuneration are therefore likely to be considerably lower. In such a role, the responsibilities of the joint lead managers are similar to those of more junior co-lead managers, save for the fact that they may be granted a higher underwriting amount and share of the fees. These underwriters need not be appointed until much later in the transaction, i.e. around the time of the presentation to research analysts. Often, banks appointed in such roles (perhaps as a consolation prize) are houses that were either long-listed or short-listed for a bookrunner position, but ultimately not appointed. It should be noted, however, that some of the global firms have a policy of not taking on junior roles in equity capital markets transactions. Below this level (although rare nowadays), co-managers can be appointed, usually for relationship reasons only. These are banks that are given a token underwriting, but are not expected to publish pre-deal research or to commit their research analysts’ time.

IPO Fees

Fees paid to underwriters for IPOs in Asia and Hong Kong are typically in a range of 1.50% to 3.50%. How fees are allocated between the various houses is generally determined at the outset by the issuer and its pre-IPO shareholders, although actual allocations of stock obviously remain competitive. It is also becoming increasingly common for fees to include an incentive element, paid to the banks in proportion to allocable demand generated and/or a discretionary amount, paid (or not) at the issuer’s option, to reward performance of all or some the banks in executing the IPO.

What It Takes for a Deal to Succeed

Market conditions for IPOs have become increasingly difficult globally, including in Asia and Hong Kong. In such markets, issuers need to be realistic about offer sizes and valuation. Getting a core group of large, well-known institutional investors to “anchor” the deal at an early stage – either formally as cornerstone investors or, more loosely, as anchor investors – has also become a pre-requisite in most cases. This requires a great deal of time and effort and, above all, of coordination between the various senior houses. Independent advisers can help to achieve this, although they need to

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make sure that their role fosters cooperation between the senior members of the syndicate and that they act in symbiosis with, rather than duplicate, the work of the banks. Deals that haven’t secured support ahead of launch, that are too small (or conversely too large) or that do not convey an attractive investment case are often unlikely to succeed – or to perform well – in today’s buyers’ market.

Conclusion

The IPO process can sometimes be fairly technical and involve unfamiliar rules and jargon for management teams. There is also the big unknown of the market, which the investment banks help issuers to navigate. At the same time, it’s important to retain a good deal of common sense and not to lose sight of the big picture. Complicated stories rarely make strong investment cases, and understanding the needs and constraints of the investors who are picking stocks amid significant primary equity pipelines is essential. Banks have a critical role in this respect. Making the right choices when it comes to their appointment can also have a significant impact on the outcome of a deal.

About the author Philippe Espinasse spent more than 19 years working as senior corporate finance and capital markets professional, including for S.G.Warburg (now UBS), Macquarie and Nomura as a Managing Director, Head of Equity Corporate Finance and Head of Equity Capital Markets. Throughout his investment banking career, he has successfully completed more than 140 corporate finance transactions, including many billion-dollar privatisation and private sector IPOs. He has marketed to issuers, or executed, capital markets offerings across all industry sectors and some 30 jurisdictions Philippe lives in Hong Kong where he writes and works as an independent consultant. He is the author of “IPO: A Global Guide”, published in April 2011 by Hong Kong University

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Press, also published as a simplified Chinese character edition. Philippe contributes regular columns to Dow Jones Banking Intelligence, the South China Morning Post and France’s L’Agefi. His articles have also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, on WSJ. com, on the website of BBC News as well as in other publications. He frequently features as a commentator on IPOs in the financial press, as well as on financial programmes on both television (BBC News, Bloomberg TV, CNBC) and the radio (ABC Radio, BBC World Service, RTHK 3). Philippe can be contacted through his website (http://www.ipo-book.com), where he also runs a blog on global IPOs.

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Chapter 5: Preparing for an IPO – Specific Listing Issues

Chapter 5: Preparing for an IPO – Specific Listing Issues

P

lanning, executing, and managing an IPO can be a challenging task. The better prepared a company is, the more efficient and less costly the process would be. It is therefore of paramount importance for potential issuers to identify issues in advance and resolve them at an early stage of the IPO. There are many issues and challenges that may arise according to the specific circumstances of the listing, the nature of the company and its industry. This chapter discusses some of the specific listing issues that may be encountered by potential issuers. In particular, as mainland enterprises form a critical mass of Hong Kong’s stock market, this chapter highlights some common issues those businesses experience when listing in Hong Kong.

1. Listing of a PRC Business – Red Chip or H-share?

People’s Republic of China (PRC) businesses listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx) include “H-share companies” and “red chip companies”. H-share companies are joint stock companies incorporated in the PRC which have received approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) to list in Hong Kong; whereas red chip companies refer to the companies which are incorporated outside the PRC (usually in Hong Kong, the Cayman Islands or Bermuda) but with most of its business in the PRC and are usually controlled by PRC entities. Listing a PRC business is generally more complicated than other listings in Hong Kong as relevant PRC approvals may be required for the reorganisation and listing process. During the IPO boom year of 2007, it was widely reported that CSRC had adopted an unofficial policy of approving H-share listing only if the amount to be raised exceeded US$1 billion or if the company was willing to do a dual-listing in the mainland. As a result, the trend over the past few years has been for mega-PRC enterprises to conduct “A + H dual listings” on the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges. For less sizable PRC businesses, they are more commonly listed in Hong Kong by way of red chip listings. Historically, the PRC regulatory process for the reorganisation and listing of red chip companies was simpler than that for H-share issuers. Nevertheless, following the introduction of the “Regulations Concerning the Merger and Acquisition of Domestic

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Enterprises by Foreign Investors” (commonly known as “Circular No. 10” or the “M&A Rules”) in August 2006, the listing process for red chip companies has become increasingly complicated. Circular No. 10 was promulgated by the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), the Stateowned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, the State Administration of Taxation, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), CSRC and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) on 8 August 2006. It came into effect on 8 September 2006 and was amended by MOFCOM on 22 June 2009. By virtue of Circular No. 10, MOFCOM’s approval is required at various stages of a red chip listing, including: – the establishment of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) outside the PRC by a PRC domestic enterprise for the purpose of an overseas listing of the interest in a PRC domestic enterprise1; and – the acquisition of the businesses or assets of a PRC domestic enterprise by the SPV2. In addition, Circular No. 10 reinstated the requirement to obtain CSRC approval for a proposed red chip listing3, which was previously removed when CSRC’s practice of issuing a no-objection letter was phased out in 2003. Moreover, under the framework of Circular No. 10, companies that successfully list overseas must repatriate proceeds within a predetermined time frame to the PRC. Even if an enterprise obtains listing approval, failure to complete the overseas listing within 12 months of such approval would result in the enterprise reverting to its original shareholding structure4. It was originally perceived that the stringent requirements and restrictions under Circular No. 10 would curb the overseas listing of those PRC enterprises whose red chip structures were not consummated before the implementation date of Circular No. 10 (i.e. 8 September 2006). However, in past years, we have witnessed various ingenious reorganisation plans adopted by different PRC enterprises to oust the application of Circular No. 10 on their listings in Hong Kong, for example, the so-called “slow walk” or “option” arrangement and the variable interest entity (VIE) structure. While these options are not free from regulatory risk, it is expected that the transactional structures for red chip listings will continue to be developed and refined. In 2012, a breakthrough was achieved with the innovation of red chip listings. A PRC domestic enterprise, by transforming itself into a Sino-foreign enterprise and then a wholly foreign-owned enterprise, successfully listed in Hong Kong in 2012.5 As this enterprise only commenced the building of its red chip structure in 2010, i.e. after the implementation date

1

3 4 5 2

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Article 42 of Circular No. 10 Article 11 of Circular No. 10 Article 40 of Circular No. 10 Article 49 of Circular No. 10 China Zhongsheng Resources Holdings Limited (Stock Code: 2623)


Chapter 5: Preparing for an IPO – Specific Listing Issues

of Circular No. 10, its successful listing is said to have turned Circular No. 10 into a paper tiger.6 As a result, PRC enterprises can be listed more freely in Hong Kong. Since 2005, China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) has issued a series of circulars concerning round-trip investments by SPVs, directing that certain types of round-trip investments are required to be registered with SAFE. As these circulars would affect the feasibility and timetable of red chip restructurings, potential issuers should not overlook these circulars and should seek professional advice in planning their red chip listings.

2. Feasibility of VIE Structures under Close Examination

VIE structures have long been used by foreign parties to indirectly invest in sectors in the PRC in which foreign direct investment (FDI) is restricted or prohibited. In addition, VIE structures have been adopted to enable PRC businesses in those FDI restricted or prohibited sectors to list offshore. Coined as a “Sina structure” after Sina.com successfully listed its value-added telecom business on NASDAQ in 2000 by adopting a VIE structure, VIE structures have been replicated in other sectors such as publications, broadcasting, media, mining and internet-based businesses. In essence, a VIE structure refers to a structure whereby a fully or partially foreignowned entity established in the PRC has control over a PRC domestic enterprise which holds the necessary licence(s) to operate in a FDI restricted/prohibited sector. By virtue of various contractual arrangements, the de facto control over the operation and management as well as the economic benefits of the PRC domestic enterprise are shifted to the foreign-owned entity. In past red chip listings adopting VIE structures, Circular No. 10 was interpreted by the relevant issuers to be inapplicable as no acquisition of the relevant PRC domestic enterprises was involved. Nevertheless, since there is no express endorsement of VIE structures by the PRC authorities, the legality of VIE structures is questionable. In the third quarter of 2011, it was widely reported that the PRC authorities may clamp down on these controversial yet popular corporate structures7, and new legislation may be enacted in this regard. After that, there was some uncertainty as to whether VIE structures can be listed in Hong Kong. The uncertainty has now been lifted as two enterprises adopting VIE structures successfully listed in Hong Kong in 2012.8 HKEx also published two listing decisions to clarify that the listing of VIE structures would continue to be allowed on a case-by-case basis, subject to disclosure of the relevant details of the VIE structures and the risks involved

6

An article entitled “Zhongsheng Resources Holdings – New Route for Red Chip Listing” (中盛資源 控股「紅籌」新路徑) published in the September 2012 issue of Capital Finance 7 Stephen Aldred and Don Durfee, “Exclusive: China company structure under threat”, (18 September 2011, Hong Kong/Beijing Reuters) 8 Branding China Group Limited (Stock Code: 8219) and Flying Financial Service Holdings Limited (Stock Code: 8030)

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in the prospectus.9 Potential issuers with VIE structures who decide to press on with their listing plans ahead of the potential legislative change in the PRC should keep track of the regulatory development and seek competent legal advice.

3. Mineral Companies and Infrastructure Projects – Special Listing Qualifications and Requirements

As the businesses of exploration and extraction of natural resources and infrastructure projects are essentially capital intensive in nature, more and more mineral companies and infrastructure companies are going public. Due to their unique characteristics, their listings in Hong Kong are subject to specific listing qualifications and requirements. “Mineral companies” include those whose principal activities (representing 25% or more of their total assets, revenue or operating expenses) involve the exploration for, and/ or extraction of, minerals or petroleum (which includes hydrocarbons in any form)10. If a mineral company is unable to satisfy any of the financial tests under Rule 8.05 of the Rules Governing the Listing of Securities on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (the Listing Rules), it may still apply to be listed if its directors and senior managers have at least five years’ experience relevant to the exploration and/or extraction activity that the listing applicant is pursuing.11 In addition, a listing applicant which is a mineral company has to demonstrate that: – it has the right to participate actively in the exploration for and/or extraction of minerals or petroleum, either through (i) control over 50% (by value) of the assets in which it has invested together with adequate rights over the exploration for and/or extraction of the relevant resources; or (ii) adequate rights arising under arrangements which give the applicant sufficient influence in decisions over the exploration for and/or extraction of those resources12; – it has at least a portfolio of (i) “Indicated Resources”13 (in the case of minerals), or (ii) “Contingent Resources”14 (in the case of petroleum), identifiable under a recognised

9

Listing Decision (HKEx-LD33-2012) published in July 2012 and Listing Decision (HKEx-LD43-3) published in first quarter of 2005, updated in November 2011 and August 2012 10 Rule 18.01(3) of the Listing Rules 11 Rule 18.04 of the Listing Rules 12 Rule 18.03(1) of the Listing Rules 13 “Indicated Resources” refer to the mineral resources for which tonnage, densities, shape, physical characteristics, grade and mineral content can be estimated with a reasonable level of confidence (Rule 18.01(3) of the Listing Rules). 14 “Contingent Resources” refer to those quantities of petroleum estimated, at a given date, to be potentially recoverable from known accumulations by application of development projects, but which are not currently considered to be commercially recoverable due to one or more contingencies (Rule 18.01(3) of the Listing Rules).

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reporting standard and substantiated in a competent person’s report; and the portfolio must be meaningful and of sufficient substance to justify a listing15; and – it has available working capital for 125% of its present requirements for at least the next 12 months16. A mineral company is also subject to additional prospectus disclosure requirements. In particular, if it has not yet begun production, it must disclose its plans to proceed to production with indicative dates and costs, which is supported by at least a scoping study, substantiated by the opinion of a competent person. If exploration rights or rights to extract resources and/or reserves have not yet been obtained, relevant risks to obtaining these rights must be prominently disclosed17. Competent person’s reports and valuation reports must comply with a recognised reporting standard18, including: – the JORC Code, NI 43-101 and the SAMREC Code for mineral resources and reserves; – PRMS for petroleum resources and reserves; and – CIMVAL, the SAMVAL Code and the VALMIN Code for valuations. Where information is presented in accordance with other reporting standards, reconciliation to the required reporting standards must be provided.19 Newly formed “project” companies include those companies formed to construct major infrastructure projects, which create the basic physical structures or foundations for the delivery of essential public goods and services that are necessary for the economic development of a territory or country. Examples of infrastructure projects include the construction of roads, bridges, tunnels, railways, mass transit systems, water and sewage systems, power plants, telecommunication systems, seaports and airports20. For a listing application by a newly formed “project” company, the HKEx may accept a shorter trading record period or may vary or waive the financial tests under Rule 8.05 if it satisfies certain specific requirements21, which include: – The company’s only business, either directly or through subsidiaries or joint venture companies, is to build and operate specific infrastructure project(s) as stipulated in the infrastructure project mandates or contracts;

15

17 18 19 20 21 16

Rule 18.03(2) of the Listing Rules Rule 18.03(4) of the Listing Rules Rule 18.07 of the Listing Rules Rule 18.24 of the Listing Rules Note to Rule 18.29 of the Listing Rules Rule 8.05B(2) of the Listing Rules Rule 8.05B(2) of the Listing Rules

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– The infrastructure project(s) must be carried out under a long term concession or mandate awarded by the government; – The remaining term of concession must normally be at least 15 years at the time of listing; – The company’s share of the total capital cost of the project(s) should normally be at least HK$1 billion; – The majority of the company’s project(s) should be in the pre-construction or construction stage; – The bulk of the proceeds of the offering should be used to finance the construction of the project(s) and not principally to repay indebtedness or to acquire other non-infrastructure assets; and – Its substantial shareholders and management have the necessary experience, technical expertise, track record and financial strength to carry out the project(s) to completion and to operate it/them thereafter. In particular, its directors and management must have sufficient and satisfactory experience of at least three years in the line of business and industry of the new applicant.

4. Pre-IPO Investment – Principles and Guidance to be Observed

It is common for private equity and hedge funds to invest in unlisted companies with the aim of cashing out on an eventual IPO. Investors are usually given large discounts because of the risk that the IPO might not be successful. However, potential issuers should observe the principles under Rule 2.03(2) and (4) of the Listing Rules, which provide that the issue and marketing of securities should be conducted in a fair and orderly manner and all holders of listed securities should be treated fairly and equally. In addition, potential issuers should also take note of the Interim Guidance on Pre-IPO Investments (Interim Guidance) announced by the HKEx on 13 October 2010, which was re-issued by way of a guidance letter by the HKEx in January 2012. The Interim Guidance requires that pre-IPO investments should normally be completed either (i) at least 28 clear days before the date of the first submission of the first listing application form; or (ii) 180 clear days before the first day of trading of the applicant’s securities. Pre-IPO investments are considered completed when the funds are irrevocably settled and received by the applicant. HKEx has in the past disapproved certain pre-IPO investments on the ground that they have contravened the principles under Rule 2.03(2) and (4) of the Listing Rules. In particular, in two cases where the pre-IPO investment agreements were signed on the date of submission of the listing application forms with settlement taking place later and the prices were at a deep discount to the IPO price, HKEx found that the pre-IPO investors would have received much more favourable terms than investors at the IPO stage. Hence, it considered that either the investments should be retracted or the listing timetable should be extended so that the pre-IPO investors would be exposed to risks significantly different from those assumed by investors investing at the IPO stage.22 22

HKEx News Release published on 13 October 2010, which was re-issued by way of a guidance letter (HKEx-GL29-12) in January 2012

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HKEx published a guidance letter (HKEx-GL43-12) in October 2012 that sets out a list of common special rights attached to pre-IPO investments and HKEx’s guidance on whether these special rights would be allowed to survive upon listing.

5. PRC Property Issues

Notwithstanding the rapid development of the property market and title registration system in the PRC, many historical issues relating to titles of properties remain unresolved. Potential issuers with properties situated in the PRC may face difficulties in evidencing their ownership in those properties due to uncertainty involved in the application process for the relevant land use right certificate and/or building ownership certificate (collectively called Title Certificates). In this regard, the HKEx provided useful guidance on the requirements for Title Certificates in its guidance letter issued in July 2010 (GL19-10), which suggests that: – For infrastructure project companies and property companies, the relevant Title Certificates are a pre-requisite for listing approval; – For mineral and exploration companies, the Listing Rules require them to obtain adequate rights to participate actively in the exploration and extraction of resources23. In other words, unless under exceptional circumstances, Title Certificates would normally be required; – For companies other than infrastructure project and property companies, the Exchange no longer requires Title Certificates. Instead, it expects listing applicants to disclose in the prospectus the risks to their operations of not having Title Certificates. In addition, Practice Note 12 of the Listing Rules provides that where the issue of a land use right certificate is pending, a properly approved land grant or land transfer contract in writing accompanied by a PRC legal opinion as to the validity of the approval may be acceptable as evidence of a transferee’s pending title to the land to be granted or transferred.

6. Competing Interests of Controlling Shareholders and Directors

Generally speaking, the Listing Rules allow the presence of a competing business of a listing applicant’s directors and controlling shareholders, provided that full disclosure is made in the prospectus (and for directors, also in its annual reports after listing) of the following24: – Reasons for the exclusion of the competing business from the business about to be listed; – A description of the excluded business and its management, including the nature, scope and size of the business, with an explanation as to how such a business may compete with the business to be listed; 23

Rule 18.03(1) of the Listing Rules Rule 8.10 of the Listing Rules

24

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– Facts demonstrating that the listing applicant is capable of carrying on its business independently of, and at arms length from, the excluded business; and – Any intention of the controlling shareholder to inject the excluded business into the company to be listed. However, in assessing the suitability of listing, HKEx will review if there are adequate arrangements to manage conflicts of interest and delineation of businesses between the company and other businesses under common control. In addition, HKEx will also consider factors relating to the conduct of the listing applicant's business independently from its controlling shareholders in areas including financial independence, operational independence and management independence.25 In this regard, the controlling shareholders of a listing applicant would normally be expected to enter into a non-competition agreement with the listing applicant to delineate their businesses following listing and to eliminate future competition. The controlling shareholders may be required to give undertakings as to referral of future business opportunities to the listing applicant, approval procedures prior to the controlling shareholder entering into future competing businesses and grant of options, pre-emptive rights or rights of first refusal over their existing or future competing businesses. In some cases, the HKEx may consider the giving of non-competition undertakings by the controlling shareholders inadequate or ineffective to manage conflicts of interest and delineation of businesses, and may require additional arrangements to be made by the listing applicants. For instance, the independent non-executive directors may be required to review the options, pre-emptive rights or rights of first refusal granted by the controlling shareholders over their existing or future competing businesses and to decide whether to exercise these rights. They may also be required to disclose the matters relating to the exercise or non-exercise of these rights to the public.26

7. Share Option Scheme

To recognize the contribution of employees and directors to the company and to share the success of the company with them, many listed companies in Hong Kong adopt share option schemes. Potential issuers may consider adopting either or both of pre-IPO schemes and post-IPO schemes. For post-IPO schemes, a number of rules under Chapter 17 of the Listing Rules have to be observed. For example, a grant of options to a director, chief executive officer, substantial shareholder or their associates must be approved by the independent non-executive directors (excluding the grantee). Shareholders’ approval is also required for a grant of options to a substantial shareholder or independent non-executive director.27 25

Listing Decision (HKEx-LD51-3) published in March 2006 The Listing Committee Annual Report 2006, pp5-6 27 Rule 17.04(1) of the Listing Rules 26

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Most importantly, the exercise price of options granted under a post-IPO scheme must not be at a discount to the market price on the date of grant. Pursuant to Rule 17.03(9) of the Listing Rules, the exercise price of options must be at least the higher of: (i) the closing price of the securities as stated in the HKEx’s daily quotations sheet on the date of grant, which must be a business day; and (ii) the average closing price of the securities as stated in the HKEx’s daily quotations sheets for the five business days immediately preceding the date of grant. For the purpose of calculating the exercise price where an issuer has been listed for less than five business days, the new issue price shall be used as the closing price for any business day falling within the period before listing. Pre-IPO schemes do not need to comply with all aspects of Chapter 17 of the Listing Rules. Where a company issues options to employees prior to an IPO, options granted before listing remain valid after listing but no further options may be granted following listing. PreIPO schemes may provide that the exercise price of options will represent a limited discount to the IPO price. The company is required to disclose in the prospectus full details of outstanding options, the grantees and their dilution effect and impact on earnings per share upon exercise.28 The HKEx may grant a waiver from the requirement to include details of the grantees if such a disclosure would be unduly burdensome or irrelevant.29

Contact ONC Lawyers General line: (852) 2810 1212 Fax: (852) 2804 6311 14-15th Floor, The Bank of East Asia Building 10 Des Voeux Road Central, Hong Kong www.onc.hk Raymond Cheung Partner Head of Corporate & Commercial Department Direct line: (852) 2107 0347 Email: raymond.cheung@onc.hk Angel Wong Associate Direct line: (852) 2107 0311 Email: angel.wong@onc.hk

28

Rule 17.02(1) of the Listing Rules Guidance Letter (HKEx-GL11-09) published by the Stock Exchange in July 2009

29

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Chapter 6: An IPO Prospectus – How to Make it Happen?

T

his chapter will examine an oft-overlooked and yet vital element in facilitating a successful IPO deal: the selection of a financial printer. IPOs in Hong Kong are subject to an array of regulatory requirements and compliance issues which, in many instances, are within the province of the issuer’s selected printer to fulfill. An especially capable financial printer may even be able to facilitate the planning and execution of each phase of the IPO process, as well as offering special expertise in the handling of publication, submission requirements and logistics support. Of all the critical tasks to be accomplished by the issuer during the pre-IPO, IPO and post-IPO process, the collaboration with a financial printer starts right from the preliminary due diligence stage, to the drafting, redrafting, translation, revision, submission to the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (HKEx), bulk-printing, e-submission and distribution of the prospectus to the public investors. From the very beginning of the process, the financial printer in an IPO project must offer a secured environment in terms of keeping the data and information intact and confidential. Data confidentiality is the prerequisite for a smooth start. The printer’s role in this initial stage is to provide a platform of data storage for easy access of authorised parties to conduct pre-IPO due diligence without worries of information leakage. Efficient desktop publishing flow, seamless documentation capabilities, professional translation, quality print production and gatekeeping of confidentiality should be other basic requirements of a professional financial printer.

The Road to an IPO

When your company has grown to a considerable size, with a wealth of continuous profit and good reputation in the industry, perhaps it’s time for you to set your path to a new milestone. Going public is the logical move for your company having regard to your future expansion and prosperity. In preparing for an IPO, you will choose a financial printer not merely focusing on the IPO deal as it may also become your long-term partner providing total solutions to all your future documentation needs. A financial printer with the following core capabilities can be instrumental in making your IPO process much more simple and hassle-free.

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Chapter 6: An IPO prospectus – How to make it happen?

Documentation Capabilities

Because a prospectus will routinely undergo numerous drafts and proofs prior to its issue, a financial printer’s strength in the management, secure storage and tracking of documents are critical considerations. Especially vital tasks for the printer include proof distribution of the registration statement throughout the IPO process, and electronic conversion of the prospectus for distribution to all professional working parties and making e-submissions to the HKEx for posting on its website. A financial printer with strong documentation capabilities will generally offer multisite data centres with identical back-up files and firewall protection to prevent the loss of vital documents in case of technical failures or transmission breakdowns. Thus, the financial printer’s dedication to investment in IT technologies is a vital element.

Around-the-clock Availability

With time and precision demands being at a premium when preparing an IPO prospectus, it is important that a financial printer is always available to take action when new decisions are made. In addition to providing the issuer with a round-the-clock point of contact and information, the printer’s customer service team should also serve as an efficient “bridge” between the issuer, other professional working parties and the printer’s various in-house professionals. One example of how round-the-clock availability can become indispensible is in the case of global offerings or dual listings. As these involve overseas investors, and more importantly, the cornerstone investors, various professional working parties such as investment bankers, auditors and lawyers located in different countries will provide advice and input during the many phases of the offering.

Customised Desktop Publishing Capabilities

In today’s intensely competitive environment, a financial printer with “24/7” service is rudimentary to support IPO issuers. Another essential element is comprehensive typesetting and composition services, including the capability to compare multiple drafts, mark trace versions, and offer bilingual functionality. Efficiency and accuracy are of essence during this phase of process management, given the sheer volume and variety of files and manuscripts the printer will receive from the professional working parties. All must be compiled to a prescribed format and subsequently delivered to a range of recipients within a strict timeframe. Feedback and new input from the various parties are then consolidated into a revised proof with new marks or cumulative marks for circulation. Errors which go unattended in this repeated process will be detrimental to every subsequent stage of production. Therefore, accuracy in typesetting and proofreading cannot be compromised.

Professional Translation Capabilities

By regulation, prospectuses in Hong Kong must be printed in both English and Chinese –

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which make translation and editing two critical elements of the IPO process. To ensure that translation is carried out with both speed and accuracy, it is necessary to select a financial printer with the core competence and experience specific to IPOs. The constant availability of these translation services can be another determining factor in the IPO preparation – particularly when the sheer number of professional working parties is considered. Almost inevitably, the necessary input of investment bankers, lawyers, accountants, company secretaries and valuers results in frequent comments and amendments which require immediate translation and responses. A financial printer equipped with an inhouse pool of seasoned and professional translation team can better control the time and quality elements of the bilingual work.

Virtual Data Room (VDR) Services

Access to confidential information by different professional working parties is a routine pattern during the IPO deal, particularly during the due diligence process. A Virtual Data Room allows this to be done efficiently and safely by offering a secure platform for managing and sharing confidential information via an extranet. In theory, a VDR enables the network of authorised parties to access confidential information at any time, and at any location. To ensure its effectiveness, a large measure of user-friendly function is a requirement, as well as a strong commitment to security and integrity. Specifics to look out for in this respect include VDR hosting at a non-compromised data centre, modern security functions, and conformance to best governance practices as required for the issuer’s application.

Timely Print Production Capabilities

Tight deadlines are incidental to creating an IPO prospectus, with precise preparations required for such milestones as printing and production of the required Registration Copies, and the mass bulk printing of prospectus and application forms to receiving banks and other institutional investors. Logically, a financial printer with a complete print production factory and in-house production team can more effectively monitor press capacity and scheduling, and therefore offer greater assurance of a smooth delivery. Financial printers with their own state-of-the-art printing facilities installed in Hong Kong offer an unbeatable advantage, with their vertical integration enabling them to produce substantial quantities of printed materials within a short timeframe to meet urgent demand and replenishment needs.

Logistics Capabilities

In-house logistics support is equally beneficial, as it enables the printer to more readily fulfill unexpected and urgent replenishment demands. A strong logistics system can be particularly useful when there are exceptional overwhelming investor responses to an IPO deal, with the printed prospectus and application forms being distributed far in advance of the subscription deadline. Under such circumstances, the financial printer will need to meet urgent printing

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orders from the issuer for replenishment of prospectus and application forms within a limited timeframe that can be as short as a few hours. These must in turn be physically delivered to branches of receiving banks by a self-owned transportation fleet. The above qualities are how a financial printer can accomplish the production of your IPO prospectus. The qualifications listed below are of equal relevance, but often disregarded when you choose a financial printer. The pinnacle of success for a premier financial printer should embrace the following qualities and facilities.

Gatekeeping Capabilities for Ensured Confidentiality

A seasoned financial printer will have access to all the highly sensitive and confidential information provided by the issuer. As there are stringent disclosure and confidentiality requirements set by regulators in Hong Kong, the printer’s “gatekeeper” role in the areas of storing, processing, translating and typesetting information for the prospectus is of paramount importance. Apart from this, an issuer will provide access of its business, shareholding structures, financial statements and material contracts for review and due diligence. Though not all this information will ultimately appear in the prospectus, much of it is of great potential value to outside third parties. A financial printer who is committed to adhering to its confidentiality code of conduct is a necessary protection to the issuer. A responsible printer shall observe its code of conduct and business ethics in serving clients and strictly follow the best trade practices and governance when handling all sensitive and confidential data and information of its client.

Creditability and Client Retention

A financial printer with proven history and competency in the management and execution of Hong Kong IPO projects and strong networking in other financial centres will be able to draw upon a wealth of practical experience gained from their previous projects to ensure a smooth, trouble-free process. The length and nature of client relationships can serve as a very accurate indicator of a financial printer’s effectiveness. Generally, long-term associations with a large number of listed companies are usually a sign of consistently superb service. This will be particularly true if the printer has a history of facilitating IPO processes and subsequent financial documentation solutions such as interim and annual reports, M&A projects and compliance needs with these clients. The long term relationship built with loyal clients is the best exhibit for the financial printer’s creditability.

Global Presence

As a well-developed business in an international financial centre, a financial printer based in Hong Kong with extensive international assignment experience and a global presence will definitely add value. It is desirable to select a financial printer with presence and established connections in key international financial centres such as London, New York, Tokyo and

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Singapore. This reflects the notion of business “thinking global, acting local”. Nonetheless, “local pricing” is also a factor that cannot be overlooked. With China-related companies now comprising the largest share of the IPO market in Hong Kong, a financial printer who has offices in major mainland cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen can provide issuers with an additional edge. Among other advantages, a strategic China presence can enable the printer to offer support, coverage and project management to IPO issuers in the country. The printer’s China-based translation teams can also provide extremely accurate and efficient translation services for industryspecific reports with a mainland China tone.

Quality Assurance

It is not unusual for tens of proofs to be created in the process of preparing a prospectus. Each may incorporate dozens or even hundreds of new amendments demanded by a wide variety of professional working parties. Given this complexity, it is easy for confusion and human error to creep into the process. Proofreading and editing are the most effective means of minimising these errors, but requires proofreaders with a rare combination of qualities. Bilingual proficiency, for instance, is needed to ensure consistency between English and Chinese versions of documents, while a thorough knowledge of IPO prospectuses is essential for identifying discrepancies in tables and graphic details. Finally, with their role as the final “gatekeepers” of the prospectus, it is desirable for the proofreaders to work in-house as an integral part of the printer’s quality control team.

Project Management

Planning, monitoring and implementing an IPO process is a vigorous task. In all its phases – from the initial submission of the registration statement, to receiving comments from the Listing Division and filing amended proofs, to gearing up for the roadshows and coordinating documentations – it is a process that demands a versatile project management team possessing specialised skills who can spontaneously respond to the specific needs of all professional working parties to ensure uninterrupted success. On the practical front, a financial printer will need to cater for the needs of various professional working parties participating in the IPO deal, including the issuer, investment banks, underwriters, legal advisers, accountants and other professionals authorised to give input to the documentation. This requires tight coordination from the financial printer as well as timely and tailored project management support for the issuer.

Conference Facilities and Related Amenities

With many crucial decisions being made “on the spot” during the prospectus’ production phase, the availability of spacious, fully equipped conference rooms at the printer’s facility can be an advantage. Using such a facility, all professional working parties can closely monitor the document drafting process and provide their input directly to the financial

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printer. The availability of stationery supplies, desktop computers, teleconferencing systems and other office equipment also makes it possible for the clients to keep working and stay in touch with their own office for the duration of their stay. In a similar context, a financial printer should also be prepared to handle the basic needs of its clients: from ordering meals and refreshments to arranging transportation for clients who face a long stay at the printer’s office. Especially during the critical bulk-printing periods, amenities such as a coffee corner, massage chairs and gym equipment within a relaxing ambience can make all the difference for the exhausted ones. Other seemingly minor yet important printer service details can include concierge arrangements, and airport/train station pick-up services for the issuer’s working team from the mainland or overseas.

Design Capabilities

Only design output of the very highest standard can effectively tailor pre-IPO, IPO and postIPO documents to the differing needs of their publications. To achieve this, it is advisable to select a financial printer whose design team is not only in-house, but also highly experienced with IPO prospectuses and related work such as annual and interim reports. The input of a well-qualified creative team can ensure that the prospectus conveys a consistent and positive corporate message for the issuer. One general measure of a printer’s track record in this regard is their success in reputable international design award programmes. Overall, the choice of a financial printer for IPO projects in Hong Kong is ultimately a vote of confidence in the printer’s experience, track record, project team, quality assurance services and technical proficiency. Equipped with all these qualities, the issuer can reasonably be certain that the printer is capable of managing the uniquely complex process of an IPO project. A financial printer that succeeds on this level can also be a worthy strategic partner of the issuer for other related services in the long term.

Contact Equity Group Catherine Chan Director Equity Financial Press Limited 2/F, 100QRC, 100 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2532 4611 Fax: (852) 2526 6820 enquiry@equitygroup.com.hk

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Chapter 7: CHOOSING YOUR REGISTRAR

Chapter 7: Choosing your Registrar

D

eciding to list on a stock exchange is one of the biggest decisions a company will make; at the same time it is both exciting and nerve-wracking. There are so many choices to be made: many of them you may never have had to make before and may never make again – so it’s hard to be prepared and reach the right conclusion each time. Amongst the decisions that have to be made in order to reach the day of listing, the appointmentof a Registrar may seem like an insignificant task. In reality, it is a key determination at the start of a long and fruitful relationship as you will need to rely on your Registrar to help in making a multitude of other decisions about your IPO, and to meet your long-term requirements – whether that is corporate actions, shareholder engagement or meeting management. Whilst you may be dealing with your first IPO, the Registrar will have experienced hundreds of these transactions already, so is ideally placed to help navigate the complex choices to be faced. Though from the outside all IPOs look the same, each one is operating in their own unique set of circumstances and market conditions.

Legal Requirements

For companies listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the requirement to have an approved Registrar is enshrined in the Listing Rules: 8.16 The issuer must be an approved share registrar or employ an approved share registrar to maintain in Hong Kong its register of members. In the definition, “approved share registrar” a share registrar who is a member of an association of persons approved under section 12 of the Securities and Futures (Stock Market Listing) Rules

Timescale

Ideally, you should aim to choose and appoint your Registrar at least three months before your listing is scheduled, and longer for large and complex IPOs. Three months allows efficient and effective planning, ensuring you will have time to make complex decisions and for the listing to go smoothly in the eyes of potential shareholders, the market and the media.

First Considerations

There are some key questions to ask when picking a Registrar – starting with your immediate listing requirements. If you are anticipating a significant response from investors, make sure

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to pick a Registrar who is equipped to cope with the volume of subscribers. If it has already been decided that a cross-border listing is required, then select a provider with the ability to cope with this, and hands-on experience in all the countries the IPO will impact. Some spectacular failings at IPO stage have been because of a failure to appreciate the differences in market requirements and shareholder perception in different countries. In addition to immediate listing requirements, one of the nuances many companies miss is to consider the capabilities their Registrar will need to have over the long term. It is easy to just focus on the requirements of the company at that specific point in time – whereas in picking a Registrar, thought should be given to future-proofing your needs. After all, this is a company you are potentially going to have a relationship with for a long period of time – so you need to make sure they are fit for the purpose not just today, but also in the future. Ask yourself: what do I want my company to look like in five years’ time? What about 10 years’ time? Do I want to have only a few shareholders or am I looking for a large retail investor base, perhaps from the very same people who purchase my goods from me? Will I want to hold the kind of annual general meeting (AGM) that all my shareholders could attend, no matter where they are? Do I just want access to capital in my local market or would the company benefit from access to capital from overseas? Will I be looking to get to a stage where I could buy a competitor? Will I want to reward my employees with a stake in the company by rolling out an employee share plan? What kind of service do I want from a Registrar? Do I want a basic low-cost provider, or do I want a long-term strategic partner who will help maintain a strong investor relationship, making sure the company’s decisions are well supported in a shareholder vote? The answers to all of these questions should help frame your thinking about the best choice of Registrar for your company.

What Can a Registrar Do for You?

Single, Dual and Multiple Exchange Listings You may have decided to list on Hong Kong’s stock exchange only, in which case your choice of Registrars will be regulated by Hong Kong's listing requirements and you will have a larger pool of options. However, if you have opted for a dual or multiple listing in order to access more capital then you have a more complex decision. You can opt for a different regulator-approved Registrar in each jurisdiction and can manage the communication and interaction between them. Alternatively, you can look at Registrars who have a presence in each country you list, which allows you to rely on them to manage the communication and interaction in-house and under one roof with less oversight required by the company. You also need to consider the type of instruments you are looking to offer, and to ascertain what experience each Registrar has in offering those to the markets you are intending to list in. The requirements for Hong Kong Depositary Receipts (DR) are very different from a United Kingdom DR, and American DR, and so on. If you’re issuing H shares or opting for a renminbi listing then picking a Registrar with experience in handling these is essential as the listing rules and regulations are complex. Making sure that you get the right structure and outcome for your company is crucial, not just in terms of attracting

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investment but also in the on-going cost of managing your listings. There are companies globally who have very successful dual-listings and even some with as many as four listings in countries all over the world. Paper and Online IPOs With today’s sophisticated technology, there are great enrolment options for IPOs. Depending on the country you are listing in and how you want your Register to look when the listing takes place, you may opt for an IPO that is totally paper-based, one which has both paper and online elements and one which is totally reliant on online applications. Typically in Hong Kong, all IPOs are available both physically and online – but check whether your offer could also be accessible online to investors if you are listing in other countries. Take some time to try out the various enrolment methods available, particularly with regard to the online platforms. If you are especially keen to encourage retail shareholders to take up the offer, then making it as convenient as possible for them to enrol will be of great importance. If you are looking to turn your customers into shareholders then you will want to make sure that the service experience they get from your company carries through to their experience when they apply for shares. Different registrars will have different options for application, so take this into account when making your choice and make sure you know how their systems will perform under the volume of investor demand you are anticipating. Post IPO: Communicating with Your Shareholders In many ways, it is post-IPO that the hard work begins for the company secretarial team. Once the listing has taken place, you have a set of shareholders that you need to keep happy: good communication is one of the keys to this and will help you achieve your desired results at your AGM. You should check the communications your shareholders will receive from your Registrar – from the share certificate itself to the welcome letter and the experience retail shareholders will get when contacting a call centre for service. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange's Listing Rules stipulate that an issuer must do e-filing and online disclosure, as well as electronic shareholder communication, so your Registrar needs to have the capability to meet these requirements. To help keep costs down and maximise corporate social responsibility opportunities, you should look for a first class e-communications service and associated online self-service platform for shareholders. Of increasing importance is the ability to deal with requests received via social media – whether it is Weibo or Twitter – the younger generation of investors are moving to public platforms to get the service they expect and your Registrar should have a strategy for managing this. The Annual General Meeting Many company secretaries describe the AGM as the single most important item that they work towards each year. For companies with retail shareholders, the AGM is the best opportunity for these investors to hear firsthand about what the company has been up to, to

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ask questions, and in some cases meet the Board responsible for delivering the returns on their investment. Your AGM will set the tone of your corporate appearance in the eyes of the investors, the industry and the media, so it is worth getting right. Typically, companies start preparing about three months in advance, deciding on a venue and working with their Registrar to plan for the registration of the shareholders, voting and the general administration of the meeting. Obviously, the more attendees you are expecting, the more complex this exercise is. If, at the IPO stage, you are able to anticipate how much interest you will have from shareholders in attending your AGM, you can take this into account when picking a Registrar; assessing their manpower and infrastructure capabilities, particularly voting service options – which can range from the traditional paper vote right through to voting via electronic devices for instantaneous voting results. You should have confidence in your Registrar’s ability to cope with whatever circumstances your AGM demands and to be able to represent your brand in the way you require. Meeting options and regulatory requirements are different in every country, so having a registrar with experience of different jurisdictions will help if you are looking to hold a meeting encompassing different locations. Preparing and communicating the associated board papers is also no small under-taking – check to see if your Registrar offers board portal software to help make this task easier – allowing your board to access and annotate board papers via their iPad or laptop. Mergers, Acquisitions and Other Corporate Actions Another future requirement you should be considering when selecting a Registrar should be the company’s need for corporate actions. If you would like to grow to the point that you can acquire a competitor, either locally or overseas; if you can see yourself merging with a complementary business at some point; if you anticipate the need to raise capital overseas – then taking this into account ahead of deciding on a Registrar is crucial in order to ensure that they can meet your needs. Rewarding and Retaining Your Employees You may have decided to award stock to employees at the point of listing, or after a period of time if all goes well financially. There are a multitude of different options for rewarding employees – your job is to make sure you pick a Registrar with experience in implementing and administering a variety of share plans so that you have options for your top executives as well as your broader employee base – and potentially your agents or resellers if you have that constituent. You should look for experience in making the most of local tax breaks, making accurate payments to deadline, delivering excellent customer service to what could be a significant part of your shareholder base, managing a planned roll-out and communications, supporting the company with financial reporting requirements and coping with any international elements you may have. Finding out that your chosen Registrar does not support a variety of employee share plans and having to appoint an external administrator could significantly add to the overall costs.

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Shareholder Challenges

It would be lovely to think that listing a company and delivering a return for shareholders is easy and that there are never any hiccups. In reality, the majority of companies find that they have some contentious issues they need to communicate with shareholders about, and to get a “yes” vote for. A common mistake is for companies not to understand who their underlying shareholders are – typically because accounts are held via a nominee rather than via a name on register. Knowing who makes up your shareholder base can help to prevent and manage potential issues which may result in a “no vote at an AGM. Choosing a Registrar with a shareholder analytics service and the ability to undertake a proxy solicitation campaign to help you identify your shareholders and to communicate directly with them whether they are with a nominee or on the register would help to avoid this situation.

Education and Training

Your Registrar should be in an ideal position to provide you with a first class overview of the ever-evolving legislatory and regulatory environment in which you are operating. Pick a Registrar which takes education seriously – from an initial welcome pack to assist with onboarding, through to providing you with a newsletter or similar updates and a webinar series which can also help you meet your professional training and development requirements. The more demonstrable knowledge your Registrar has, the better they will be able to help you do your job efficiently and effectively. Using these assessment criteria to help you choose the right Registrar both for your listing and for your future requirements will ensure you save time in the long run.

Contact IPO Expert: Pamela Chung Managing Director Computershare Hong Kong Investor Services Limited P: +852 2862 8512 Email: Pamela.chung@computershare.com.hk Address: Hopewell Centre, 46th Floor, 183 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Client Contact: Lina Wynn Head, Client Services Computershare Hong Kong Investor Services Limited P: +852 2862 8696 Email: lina.wynn@computershare.com.hk Address: Hopewell Centre, 46th Floor, 183 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

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Chapter 8: Communicating with Investors – The Role of Public Relations in Shaping Corporate Images

A

ny company seeking a listing in Hong Kong will invariably receive close attention from the capital market. Such attention does not just focus on the initial public offering (IPO) process, but will last throughout the long history of the company’s growth. Therefore, public relations (PR) firms play a significant role in assisting listed companies to make all kinds of preparations and develop long-term goals on branding and investor relations strategies. The work of a PR firm can be divided into three parts. The first part addresses the shortterm goal. This involves pre-listing tasks and preparations that support the company’s listing process, and is achieved by launching a comprehensive 360-degree PR campaign for the best result. The second part addresses the mid-term goal of developing the company’s brand image as an on-going process, as every action of the company will arouse the market’s attention post-listing. The third part addresses the long-term goal of enhancing the company’s visibility and reputation even further. In this part of its work, the PR firm will use Hong Kong as a springboard and promote the entire company to the broader market, including its business, culture, brand name and values, with a view to paving the way for its growth and prosperity.

An Overview of a PR Company’s Work at Each Stage of the Listing Process

1. Cushion Period—Before Submitting the Listing Application Form Before submitting Listing Application Form (Form A1) to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the company can still launch advertisements focusing on its business or arrange a number of media interviews according to its needs and budgets, and taking into account the condition and nature of the business that needs to be supported. This is done as the final PR tactic

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before applying for a listing and serves as a PR prelude to the listing process and progress in the next three or six months. It is important to bear in mind that nothing in the interviews that the company’s management arranged, or the advertisements launched shall mention the prospective listing and any related information. Meanwhile, it is necessary to seek professional advice from sponsors and lawyers. A reasonable amount of appropriate PR activity during the cushion period is intended to enhance the company’s visibility and its exposure on the Hong Kong market without violating relevant listing rules of the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx), and provides a favorable public perception before the company enters into the stage of formal PR activity. At this stage, any outbound information should focus on the company’s brand name and its business growth in order to improve the company’s visibility and arouse market interest in the relevant business sector. However, absolutely no information shall be disclosed in connection with the company’s prospective listing. During this period, one should keep a close eye on pre-listing preparations. The prospective listed company should start to consider doing some relevant work in this respect. For instance, the management of the company should discuss business key messages, industry analysis, market size and growth rate, the competitive landscape and competitor analysis, and key success factors (KSFs). In addition, they should highlight the benefits of investing in the company, define its future growth strategy, analyze the company, and position and package the company in the financial market. The purpose of doing all these is to prepare the company for a smoother listing process later before it enters into the quiet period. Apart from assisting the company to carry out these preparations, a professional PR firm also helps it complete a broad range of preparatory work, such as: revising the company’s presentation materials, defining key messages, assisting sponsors to conduct road shows, monitoring investor relations, assessing risks and developing contingency tactics, and designing and enhancing corporate images for PR purposes. Furthermore, PR-related designing and enhancing of corporate images involves the following jobs: • Corporate images: logo design/stationery/business cards/presentation sample/gift design/ folders/corporate brochures/handbags/miscellaneous items • Events planning and management • Media tactics and promotion: printed advertisements/TV commercials/outdoor advertisements • Investor relations and company website design • Corporate video: making corporate video clips—writing and editing stories and voiceover/designing a schedule for filming/post production • Professional still-picture photography: company business/management/plants/domestic production sites/wholesale centers

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2. Quiet Period—After the Listing Application, Before the Hearing The listing efforts at this stage focus on preliminary preparations and drafting jobs, such as auditing the company’s financial positions internally, reviewing the company’s legal qualifications, and preparing information for the prospectus. Meanwhile, relevant materials will be submitted to the HKEx for review. Throughout this quiet period, the HKEx imposes extremely strict requirements on prospective listed companies in connection with information disclosure. For this reason, media tactics for this stage should largely remain subdued, and the effort of the PR firm should focus on monitoring media more closely and preventing crises from occurring. Meanwhile, it should evaluate all resources possessed by the company and define appropriate priorities in order to set the agenda for the next stage of the promotion. As the company will soon be subject to the hearing procedure for listing approval, any promotion during the quiet period needs to be done very cautiously to avoid running foul the Exchange’s Listing Rules and causing any obstacles that may affect the listing progress. Some questions may arise during this period. How should the company be promoted cautiously while observing the “quiet principle”? Should the company be promoted at all? Can messages focusing on the company’s culture, brand name and social responsibilities be released to the public in order to improve the company’s visibility in the Hong Kong market? Again, the company must not disclose any information about its prospective listing. Certainly, during this period, the PR firm still can define priorities for promotion and prepare relevant materials to be used later on. PR-related work may include: • Communicating with the company and sponsors to summarize priorities for promotion. Topics may cover the company’s management, business priorities, investment highlights, technological breakthroughs, branding strengths and quality control. Such materials should be further screened to select the most newsworthy topics. • Managing the selected news topics for release at different stages. • Polishing write-ups by the PR firm and storing them in the database for use in the promotion period. 3. Promotion Period—After the Hearing, Before the IPO in Hong Kong This stage signals the formal start of the promotion-for-listing period. The PR firm should launch a full-scale campaign to release press releases and advertisements. It should also decide on a media promotion programme based on the company’s needs and budget, and develop more detailed tactics, schedules and implementation initiatives for the promotion. Meanwhile, the PR firm should try its best to maximize the promotional effects through positive coverage, closely monitoring negative or sensitive information and disclosing basic information about the listing to the media. The company should avoid making direct comparisons with its competitors, and it should not make any comment on pricing or valuation.

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Press Releases • A formal channel should be established to publish news and messages from a single source, so that the media can start to get formally involved in the listing-related news coverage, and their stories can be aligned with the agenda set by the company. • The press releases should be published to reach a fairly broad audience and be able to create the first wave of promotion which should mainly rely on local and international financial media and news agencies in Hong Kong. • As an essential step in the promoting process of listing purposes, all IPO-related information must be published accurately through formal channels. • Press releases can release IPO-related information to the public to the greatest extent. Exclusive Interviews • In contrast to press releases, exclusive interviews can produce in-depth stories with more specific and vivid details which can provide investors with a comprehensive understanding of the company. • Exclusive interviews can help develop a professional image of the management team, and enhance investor confidence in the company. • The PR firm will arrange interviews with the media as and when permitted by the Listing Rules. Relevant Promotion Events • Investors and analysts’ luncheons: helping them to understand the corporate-related information better. • News conferences: assisting the financial media to understand corporate-related information better. • Visits to plants/production sites by investors and analysts: aiming to develop close connections between the company, financial analysts, investors and shareholders, and help answer and follow up on related enquiries. 4. Sprinting Period—After the IPO in Hong Kong, Before the Listing Day At the final stage of the listing process, this is also when the listing-related promotion sprints toward the finishing line. During this period, the PR firm needs to help make the listing of the company a central event in town. Therefore, both news and advertisements are published intensively to entice heated discussions in the market and enhance the company’s visibility significantly. Guidelines for Promotion • Provide unbiased information on various aspects of the IPO, such as the market reaction, pricing and results. It is advisable to provide more facts and refrain from making comments. • Do not make any forecast on the company’s share price and valuation after listing.

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• Make no prediction that contains sensitive information about the company, such as its growth and investment plans, mergers and acquisitions, and earnings. • When the IPO is completed, all interviews with the media are permitted. The date of publication can be determined as per the communication strategy advised by the PR firm. Possible Methods for Promotion Announcements. Legal announcements are published in the financial sections of select Hong Kong newspapers on the public offering in Hong Kong and the results of the shares subscription. This enables the public to read the relevant information from a credible news source and reinforces the effect of the current promotional efforts of the company. eIPO Advertisements. As the Internet gets ever more popular, the HKEx has been promoting electronic initial public offering (eIPO) services in recent years to provide investors with better access to newly-listed shares with higher efficiency. Listed companies will publish full-page colored eIPO advertisements in certain Hong Kong newspapers during the IPO period to draw the attention from investors and promote online subscriptions. In recent years, the Internet has become an extremely important platform for posting eIPO advertisements. Celebration Advertisement for a Successful IPO. Published on the exact day when companies get listed, these advertisements are intended to celebrate their successful listing, which is an important item in the promotional toolbox of a listing project. On the listing day, the listed company, strategic investors and intermediaries will all publish celebratory advertisements to demonstrate the support of all these parties for the company. The company may also take this opportunity to thank investors for their support and extend their promotional work to different audiences. Exclusive TV Interviews on the Listing Day. Arrangements can be made for the company’s management to receive interviews with major electronic media. Broadcast on the company’s listing day, such interviews can strengthen its promotional efforts and provide the public with a deeper knowledge about the company. The content of these interviews mainly focuses on the performance and trends of the company’s stock on the first day of listing, as well as the company’s growth strategy in the future. This can help the public envision how the company will grow, and it also enhances the investors’ understanding about the company. 5. Continuing Period­—After Listing After the listing, the company will become much more visible and better known to the public. As a result, it also faces more challenges. Therefore, the company needs to strengthen communications with investors and the market, demonstrate professionalism when disclosing information and maintain its brand image. Based on the market’s response to the

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listing, the PR firm will provide a long-term proposal on PR activities (such as targeting financial media) in support of the company’s mid- and long-term goals. Through a range of communications activities, including activities concerning investor and media relations, the PR firm should try to enable the capital market and the media to gain a comprehensive understanding of the listed company, including its business performance, the general conditions of the industry in which it operates and its future development. The ultimate goal is to help the company achieve the most effective interactions with investors and other stakeholders, increase investors’ confidence in acquiring the company’s stock so that the company can enjoy a fair valuation on the capital market, and communicate its growth potential and relevant positive information to the capital markets so as to attract high-quality potential investors. The market offers investors many choices. Therefore, in addition to focusing on its principal business and becoming larger and more robust, listed companies should understand how to make use of PR strategy and media networks to maximize exposure and convince the market ‘We are simply a great company’.

Contact PR ASIA Consultants Limited 5/F, Euro Trade Centre 13-14 Connaught Road Central Hong Kong Tel: +852 2583 9938 enquiries@prasia.net www.prasia.net Tony Wong General Manager tony.wong@prasia.net Chow Tze Lung Account Director tl.chow@prasia.net

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Chapter 9: The Importance of Online Investor Relations in an IPO Project

T

he value of a listed company does not just lie in its profits and net asset value. More importantly, it depends upon the company’s future, that is, its profitability and growth potential given its past and present performance. Therefore, as an important bridge connecting listed companies with the investing public, good investor relations can help companies improve transparency and give rise to investor expectations. The Hong Kong stock market takes pride in its initial public offerings (IPOs). Before going public, companies are required to disclose information about themselves to the public, which comes in the form of an IPO prospectus. A prospectus usually includes the issuer’s background information, financial summary, and a brief introduction to its board members etc. Research found that in 1999, the vast majority of the investors (approximately 80%) received the latest data about Hong Kong-listed companies from conventional media, which included newspapers, television or magazines. No more than 6% of the investors used new tools such as the Internet or email. However, since 2007 when Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx) rolled out the ‘Paperless Policy’ across the board by introducing its Electronic Submission System (ESS), online platforms and radio broadcasts have held a greater market share than conventional media, a sign that online investor relations have become increasingly mature. In addition to full compliance with regulatory requirements set out by the HKEx, listed companies also need to lay a solid foundation for establishing their public image of being healthy, well-regulated and transparent entities; a goal which is achieved by means of effective communication with investors and by achieving sustainable performance and returns.

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Use of Electronic Means at the Exchange

Under Rule 2.07A(1) of the Listing Rules, any requirement in these Exchange Listing Rules for a listed issuer to send, mail, dispatch, issue, publish or otherwise make available any corporate communication may, to the extent permitted under all applicable laws and regulations and the listed issuer’s own constitutional documents, be satisfied by the listed issuer sending or otherwise making available the corporate communication to the relevant holders of its securities using electronic means and any requirement in these Exchange Listing Rules that a corporate communication of a listed issuer must be in printed form may be satisfied by the corporate communication being in electronic format.

Rules of the Exchange on Information and Submission of Document

The procedures regarding the submission of information and documents under the Exchange’s Listing Rules shall be determined by the Exchange from time to time and promulgated by way of a practice note on the Exchange Listing Rules. Issuers must comply with such requirements as the HKEx may from time to time determine and promulgate with regard to format, timing, procedure or otherwise for publication and submission of documents to the Exchange.1 Where a document is required to be published in both the English and Chinese languages, the issuer must submit the ready-to-publish electronic copy of both the English and Chinese versions of that document together to the Exchange for publication on the Exchange’s and the issuer’s corporate websites.2 After 24 June 2008, every issuer must have its own website on which it must publish any announcement, notice or other document published by the issuer pursuant to Rule 2.07C on the Exchange’s website. Such a publication should be completed at the same time as the publication of the electronic copy of the document on the Exchange’s website. In any event: (i) where the electronic copy of the document is published after 7:00 p.m. on the Exchange’s website, publication on the issuer’s own website must not be later than 8:30 a.m. on the next business day following such publication; and (ii) where the electronic copy of the document is published at any other time on the Exchange’s website, publication on the issuer’s own website must not be later than one hour after such publication.3 The issuer’s website does not need to be hosted on a domain owned or maintained by the issuer. The issuer’s website may be hosted on a third party domain so long as the website

1

Rule 2.07C(5) of the Listing Rules Rule 2.07C(4)(c) of the Listing Rules 3 Rule 2.07C(6)(a) of the Listing Rules 2

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is assigned a dedicated location on the World Wide Web and the issuer’s website may be managed by a third party on behalf of the issuer. The issuer must ensure that any document published on its website pursuant to these Exchange Listing Rules remains available on its website on a continuous basis for at least five years. The public must be able to access these documents on the issuer’s website free of charge.4 Pursuant to the latest amendment made in April 2012, the issuer is required to publish on its own and the Exchange’s websites the issuer’s constitutional documents and the procedure for candidates nominated by shareholders to be elected directors. Consider these questions to check whether your company has appropriate online investor relations services in place prior to listing.

4

1

Does your company have its own website which provides Yes / No information on the company’s business performance?

2

Does your company’s website contain an appropriate section Yes / No dedicated to investor relations?

3

Is your company rigorously compliant with the regulatory Yes / No requirements of the Exchange on the submission of documents?

4

Can company-related information be published on global Yes / No networks? (For example, Bloomberg, Reuters and Tencent Finance)

5

Is there an easy-to-manage electronic list of investors that is Yes / No updated on a regular basis?

6

Has your company engaged investor relations officers who Yes / No are familiar with the HKEx Listing Rules and provide advice in connection with the company?

7

After taking your answers to these questions into account, Yes / No does your company need to engage an external team for 24hour support?

Rule 2.07C(6)(b) of the Listing Rules

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The Importance of Good Online Investor Relations to a Company’s Public Offerings

Good investor relations can help increase a company’s transparency, enhance its corporate governance, and improve its standards of regulated operation, scientific decision-making and internal management. Using online investor relations services wisely makes a listed company more likely to be sought after by investors, resulting in a relatively higher valuation of the company’s shares. By building on a foundation of good communications and harmonious investor relations, the listed company would gain broad investor buy-in for its growth strategy. As a result, the financing of projects launched by the company to facilitate the sustainable development of its principal business would be more likely to receive positive support from investors and the capital markets. Compared with their competitors, such companies are more likely to enjoy a comparative advantage in valuation and hence reduced financing costs. Investor relations fall into the domain of strategic management. By selecting a good provider of online investor relations services, a listed company can achieve greater results with less effort, and enhance its visibility among investors, especially during the IPO process. Therefore, we have seen professional investor relations service providers (including conventional and new-generation ones) emerge. In addition to ensuring full compliance with the Exchange’s Listing Rules, such service providers help to publish information in connection with listed companies on global media networks, such as Bloomberg, Reuters, Dow Jones, Tencent Finance and Sina Finance. Through information disclosures to the world’s investing public, they can help promote good relations between listed companies and investors, develop corporate transparency in the process, and strengthen close communications between listed companies and investors as well as the financial communities at large.

Contact TodayIR (Hong Kong) Limited 27/F., EIB Centre, 40-44 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Website: www.todayir.com Mani Lai Account Director – Online IR Tel: (852) 2893 5622 Fax: (852) 2892 1112 Email: business@TodayIR.com

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Chapter 10: Post-Listing Compliance Obligations

A

company is required to observe various continuing compliance obligations once any of its securities have been listed on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (HKEx). This chapter introduces three major post-listing compliance obligations relating to (i) inside information; (ii) notifiable transactions; and (iii) connected transactions. A listed company should note that there are other compliance obligations set in the Rules Governing the Listing of Securities on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (the Listing Rules), the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Chapter 571 of the Laws of Hong Kong) (SFO) and other securities laws and regulations in Hong Kong.

Disclosure of Inside Information

Timely disclosure by listed companies of its significant information has long been the focus of Hong Kong regulators for enhancing market transparency and investor protection. Statutory Requirements As such, the SFO has been amended to regulate the disclosure of “inside information” by listed corporations. Part XIVA is introduced to the SFO from 1 January 2013 so that the disclosure requirements become part of the law. The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has issued “Guidelines on Disclosure of Inside Information” (Guidelines) to provide examples and discuss issues on particular situations. The Guidelines do not have the force of law and do not remove the requirement for listed corporations to make their own judgment on the identification of inside information. However, the principles and elaborations contained in the Guidelines do illustrate the SFC’’s views on the operation of the new disclosure regime. What is “inside information” Under Part XIVA of SFO (which comes into effect on 1 January 2013), inside information, in relation to a listed corporation, means specific information that is about:

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(i) the corporation; (ii) a shareholder or officer of the corporation; or (iii) the listed securities of the corporation or their derivatives, and is not generally known to the persons who are accustomed or would be likely to deal in the listed securities but would, if generally known to them, be likely to materially affect the price of such listed securities. This definition is the same as that of “relevant information” for the purpose of insider dealing in the SFO. The Guidelines identified three key elements comprised in the concept of “inside information”: (a) the information about the particular corporation must be specific; (b) the information must not be generally known to that segment of the market which deals or which would likely deal in the corporation’s securities; and (c) the information would, if so known be likely to have a material effect on the price of the corporation’s securities. Even with the Guidelines in place, a listed corporation must assess the impact of significant or unexpected events to decide whether they constitute inside information to such corporation. It also has to consider the prevailing market conditions and surrounding circumstances. For instance, in periods of market volatility and turmoil, the market is more sensitive to information, both positive and negative, concerning the financial performance and condition of a listed company. Examples of possible “inside information” The Guidelines set out some common examples of events and circumstances where a listed corporation should consider whether a disclosure obligation arises: • • • • • • • • •

changes in performance, or the expectation of the performance, of the business; changes in financial condition, e.g. cash flow crisis, credit crunch; changes in control and control agreements; changes in directors, supervisors or auditors; changes in the share capital, e.g. new share placing, bonus issue, rights issue, share split, share consolidation and capital reduction; issue of debt securities, convertible instruments, options or warrants to acquire or subscribe for securities; purchase or disposal of equity interests or other major assets or business operations; formation of a joint venture; restructurings, reorganizations and spin-offs that have an effect on the corporation’s assets, liabilities, financial position or profits and losses;

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• • • • • •

• • • • • • • •

legal disputes and proceedings; revocation or cancellation of credit lines by one or more banks; changes in value of assets; insolvency of relevant debtors; physical destruction of uninsured goods; decrease or increase in value of financial instruments in portfolio which include financial assets or liabilities arising from futures contracts, derivatives, warrants, swaps protective hedges, credit default swaps; decrease in value of patents or rights or intangible assets due to market innovation; receiving acquisition bids for relevant assets; innovative products or processes; new licenses, patents, registered trademarks; orders received from customers, their cancellation or important changes; withdrawal from or entry into new core business areas; pledge of the corporation's shares by controlling shareholders; and changes in a matter which was the subject of a previous announcement.

When and how should inside information be disclosed The listed corporation must, as soon as reasonably practicable after any inside information has come to its knowledge, disclose the information to the public. The disclosure should be made by way of a formal announcement. Before the information is fully disclosed to the public, the information must be kept strictly confidential. But if the corporation believes that confidentiality cannot be maintained or that confidentiality may have been breached, it should immediately disclose the information to the public. If a corporation needs time to clarify the details of, and the impact arising from, an event or a set of circumstances before it is able to issue a full announcement, it should consider issuing a “holding announcement” to set out as much detail as possible of the subject matter and the reasons why a fuller announcement cannot be made. The full announcement should be made as soon as reasonably practicable. Safe harbours that allow non-disclosure of inside information A listed corporation is not required to disclose any inside information under the following circumstances: (i) if and so long as the disclosure is prohibited an order made by a Hong Kong court or any provisions of other Hong Kong statutes; or (ii) if the corporation takes reasonable precautions for preserving the confidentiality of the information, such confidentiality is preserved; and • the information concerns an incomplete proposal or negotiation; • the information is a trade secret;

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• the information concerns the provision of liquidity support from the Exchange Fund of Hong Kong or from an institution which performs the functions of a central bank (including such an institution of a place outside Hong Kong) to the corporation or, if the corporation is a member of a group of companies, to any other member of the group; or • the disclosure is waived by the SFC. Responsibility for compliance and management controls The SFO provides that every officer of a listed corporation must take all reasonable measures from time to time to ensure that proper safeguards exist to prevent a breach of a disclosure requirement in relation to the corporation. If a listed corporation is in breach of a disclosure requirement, an officer of the corporation is also in breach of the disclosure requirement if: (i) his intentional, reckless or negligent conduct has resulted in the breach; or (ii) he has not taken all reasonable measures from time to time to ensure that proper safeguards exist to prevent the breach, Therefore, the listed corporation should establish and maintain appropriate and effective systems and procedures to ensure any material information which comes to the knowledge of its officers be promptly identified, assessed and escalated for the attention of the board of directors to decide about the need for disclosure. This would require a timely and structured flow to the board of information arising from the development or occurrence of events and circumstances. Listing Rules requirements The recent amendments to the Listing Rules, which also take effect on 1 January 2013, clarify that the statutory disclosure relating to inside information is to be enforced by the SFC. The HKEx has a duty under the SFO to ensure an orderly, informed and fair market. Therefore, the Listing Rules provide that where in HKEx’s view there is or there is likely to be a false market in an issuer’s securities, the issuer must, as soon as reasonably practicable after consultation with HKEx, announce the information necessary to avoid a false market in its securities. Such obligation, nevertheless, exists whether or not HKEx makes enquiries.

Notifiable Transactions

To enhance shareholders’ involvement in significant transactions of a listed company, Chapter 14 of the Listing Rules sets out comprehensive rules on certain transactions, principally acquisitions and disposals, which must be publicly disclosed by a listed company. These obligations include the requirements to disclose the transactions to the public and/or to obtain prior shareholders’ approval depending on the size of such transactions. Notifiable transactions generally involve acquisitions or disposal of capital assets, formation of joint ventures etc., and are at least 5% in size calculated based on the “5

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tests”. The Listing Rules have established the “5 tests” to determine the classification of a transaction and the level of disclosure required. By using reliable information, the relevant tests would provide a meaningful measure of the relative level of activities and the value of the target assets against that of the listed company. 5 Tests and Percentage Ratio The percentage ratios obtained by the application of the “5 tests” are the percentage figures resulting from the following calculations: (i) Assets ratio – the total assets which are the subject of the transaction divided by the total assets of the listed company. The listed company must refer to the total assets shown in its latest published audited accounts or half-year, quarterly or other interim report (whichever is more recent) for the purpose of calculating the assets ratio. (ii) Profit ratio – the profits attributable to the assets which are the subject of the transaction divided by the profits of the listed company. The listed company must refer to the profits shown in its latest published annual accounts subject to adjustments, e.g. if the listed company has discontinued one of its operating activities during the previous financial year and has separately disclosed the profits from the discontinued operations in its accounts, HKEx may be prepared to accept the exclusion of such profits for the purpose of calculating the profit ratio. (iii) Revenue ratio – the revenue attributable to the assets which are the subject of the transaction divided by the revenue of the listed company. The listed company must refer to the revenue shown in its latest published annual accounts subject to adjustments. For example, if the listed company has discontinued one of its operating activities during the previous financial year and has separately disclosed the revenue from the discontinued operations in its accounts, HKEx may be prepared to accept the exclusion of such revenue for the purpose of calculating the revenue ratio. (iv) Consideration ratio – the consideration divided by the total market capitalisation of the listed company. The total market capitalisation is the average closing price of the listed company’s securities as stated in HKEx’s daily quotation sheets for the five business days immediately preceding the date of the transaction. Please note that where the listed company pays/receives consideration in the future, the numerator shall be the maximum consideration payable/receivable under the agreement. If the total consideration is not subject to a maximum or such maximum value cannot be determined, the proposed transaction may be classified as a very substantial acquisition, notwithstanding the transaction class into which it otherwise falls. (v) Equity ratio – the nominal value of the listed company’s equity capital issued as consideration divided by the nominal value of the listed company’s issued equity capital immediately before the transaction. This test is only applicable for acquisitions (and not disposals) by the listed company issuing new equity capital as consideration.

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Classification of Transactions and Disclosure Requirements After the application of the “5 tests”, the relevant percentage ratios will be used to classify the type of the transactions. Different requirements will apply to each category of notifiable transactions. The following table summarises classification of transactions based on the percentage figures resulting from the “5 tests”: Share transaction

All the ratios are less than 5% but consideration includes securities for which listing is sought Any ratio is 5% or more but all ratios are less than 25% Acquisition: any ratio is 25% or more but all ratios are less than 100% Disposal: any ratio is 25% or more but all ratios are less than 75% Any ratio is 75% or more Any ratio is 100% or more Attempt to achieve a listing of assets to circumvent the listing requirements (change of control)

Discloseable transaction Major transaction

Very substantial disposal Very substantial acquisition Reverse takeover

The following table summarises the notification, publication and shareholder approval requirements for each type of transactions:

Share transaction Discloseable transaction Major transaction Very substantial disposal Very substantial acquisition Reverse takeover

Notification to Publication of Circular to HKEx announcement shareholders Yes Yes No

Shareholders’ Accountants’ approval report No No

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes#

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No*

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes#

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes#

# Only for the acquisition of businesses and /or companies * A listed issuer may at its option include an accountants’ report

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Aggregation Rule To prevent circumvention of the Listing Rules by splitting a transaction, HKEx may require the listed company to aggregate a series of transactions and treat them as if they are one transaction if they are all completed within a 12-month period or otherwise related. Such a rule of aggregation applies to both notifiable transactions and connected transactions (to be further discussed below). The factors taken into account by HKEx in determining aggregation include whether the transactions: (i) are entered into by the listed company with the same party or with parties connected or otherwise associated with one another; (ii) involve the acquisition or disposal of securities or an interest in one particular company or group of companies; (iii) involve the acquisition or disposal of parts of one asset; or (iv) together lead to substantial involvement by the listed company in a new business.

Connected Transactions

Connected transactions are governed by the rules set out in Chapter 14A of the Listing Rules, which are complex and highly technical. The intention of having such rules is to ensure that the interests of shareholders as a whole are taken into account by a listed company when the listed company enters into connected transactions. Of course, such rules will also provide certain safeguards against listed companies’ directors, chief executives or substantial shareholders (or their associates) taking advantage of their positions in the relevant company. The most common connected transactions are transactions entered into between the listed company or its subsidiaries on one side, and the connected persons or their associates on the other side. Save in certain cases where exemptions apply, connected transactions are generally subject to disclosure and reporting, or in addition, prior independent shareholders’ approval. The definition of “transactions” for “connected transactions” is broader than that of “notifiable transactions”, as it includes transactions such as issuing new securities, provision of or receipt of services and sharing of services, and so on. Definition of “Connected Persons” and “Associates” 1. Connected persons Under Rule 14A.11 of the Listing Rules, connected persons include: (i) director, chief executive, substantial shareholder (holding at least 10% of issued share capital of the company) or supervisor (in case of a PRC issuer) of the listed issuer (which, for the purpose of Chapter 14A, also includes its subsidiaries); (ii) any person who was a director of the listed issuer within the preceding 12 months; (iii) any “associate” of any person referred to in (i) and (ii); (iv) any non-wholly-owned subsidiary of the listed issuer where any connected person of the listed company itself (i.e. other than at the level of its subsidiaries) as defined in (i)

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to (iii) above is/are (individually or together) entitled to exercise or control the exercise of 10% or more of the voting power at any general meeting of such non wholly-owned subsidiary; and (v) any subsidiary of such non-wholly-owned subsidiary. Having said that, a “connected person” does not include a wholly-owned subsidiary of a listed issuer, or a non-wholly-owned subsidiary by virtue of it being (a) a substantial shareholder of another subsidiary of the listed issuer; or (b) an “associate” of a director (or a person who was a director of the listed issuer within the preceding 12 months), chief executive, substantial shareholder or a supervisor (in case of a PRC issuer) of any subsidiary of the listed issuer. 2. Associates “Associate” is broadly defined under Rule 1.01 of the Listing Rules and is supplemented by Rule 14A.11 of the Listing Rules. “Associates” are divided into two categories: (i) associate in relation to a connected individual – including a spouse, a person cohabiting as a spouse, any child or step-child, parent, step-parent, sibling and other relatives of a connected individual (family interest), and any company under a certain level of control of a connected person and/or that connected person’s family interests and/or trustee interests; (ii) associate in relation to a connected company – including holding company, subsidiary and sister company of a connected company, and any company which the connected entity may (1) exercise or control the exercise of 30% or more of the voting power at general meetings of such company, or (2) control the composition of a majority of the board of directors of such a company, and any other company which is a subsidiary of such a company. Disclosure Requirements There are two main types of connected transactions: namely, one-off connected transactions and continuing connected transactions. So far as disclosure requirements are concerned, they can be divided into three main categories: (i) Fully exempted transactions Connected transactions in this category are exempted from all disclosure, reporting and independent shareholders’ approval requirements if: • the transaction is on normal commercial terms where each or all of the percentage ratios (except for the profits ratio) is/are: – less than 0.1% (less than 1% for the transaction with persons who are connected at the level of the listed company's subsidiaries); or

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– less than 5% and the consideration is less than HK$1 million; or • the transaction is otherwise exempted under Rule 14A.31 and 14A.33 of the Listing Rules. (ii) Partially exempted transactions Connected transactions in this category are not subject to prior independent shareholders' approval but are subject to reporting requirements if: • the transaction is on normal commercial terms where each or all of the percentage ratios (except for the profits ratio) is/are: – less than 5%; or – less than 25% and the consideration is less than HK$10 million. (iii) Non-exempted transactions For other connected transactions, the relevant listed companies are required to comply with disclosure requirements and obtain the prior approval from the independent shareholders. In addition, an opinion from an independent financial adviser on the fairness and reasonableness of the terms of the transaction and a recommendation from an independent board committee are also required for each of these transactions. Connected Transaction Compliance Recommendations Having a good connected transaction compliance system will help reduce the risk of breaching the Listing Rules and promote investors’ trust in a listed company. Although there is no single internationally-accepted form of such a system, the following recommendations may provide some useful ideas: • Set up an internal connected transactions committee or working team – members should include staff from legal, business and/or financial divisions; • Enforce timely internal reporting to the listed company – each company or division within the group should collate and report information on connected transactions promptly; • Regularly supervise the status of, and review, connected transactions; • Actively investigate any unusual increases in the volume of connected transactions or changes in the transaction terms; • Regularly update the list of connected persons; • Comply with the necessary Listing Rules requirements as soon as possible if the listed company estimates, through supervision and periodic reports, that the transaction value is likely to exceed the annual cap; • Determine whether a deal is a connected transaction before signing; and • Collect information on connected transactions in advance and review the coordination work on connected transactions for the year before publication of its annual report.

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Conclusion

Disclosure by listed companies should be aimed at providing shareholders and the public with appropriate data and information on a timely and even basis, and not merely to meet the minimum regulatory requirements. Given that nowadays effective internal control and transparent disclosure practices are increasingly important selection criteria for investors, one can foresee that the timely disclosure of accurate and quality information would be in the listed companies’ interests, since investors often give premium ratings to the most transparent companies.

Contact Elsa Chan Partner Baker & McKenzie 23rd Floor, One Pacific Place 88 Queensway, Hong Kong SAR Elsa.Chan@bakermckenzie.com Rossana Chu Partner Baker & McKenzie 23rd Floor, One Pacific Place 88 Queensway, Hong Kong SAR Rossana.Chu@bakermckenzie.com Tracy Lam Special Counsel Baker & McKenzie 23rd Floor, One Pacific Place 88 Queensway, Hong Kong SAR Tracynl.Lam@bakermckenzie.com

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CONTENTS

目錄 前言

106

關於LexisNexis

107

序言

108

第一章 為何選擇在香港上市

115

第二章 申報會計師的角色

122

第三章 財務資料規定及業務轉型

130

第四章 與投資銀行設計交易

138

第五章 准備首次公開招股-具體上市事宜

145

第六章 首次公開招股的招股章程:從制作到完成印發

152

第七章 選擇您的股票過戶登記處

158

第八章 與投資者溝通-公關公司塑造企業形象的角色

162

第九章 首次公開招股項目:網上投資者關係的重要性

166

第十章 上市後的合規責任

169

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香港首次公開招股指南2013

前言

承接去年初版取得的正面回饋,LexisNexis隆重推出《香港首次公開招股指南2013》(指 南)第二版。我們感激讀者對初版提供的寶貴意見,冀能將讀者的意見納入新版內。 本指南綜覽香港首次公開招股程序,涵蓋本地上市的考慮因素;進行首次公開招股前的架 構重組;揀選銀行、法律和審計顧問以至財經印刷和傳訊公關專家,到進行首次公開招股 及籌備上市後的持續責任等內容。 將一家公司上市絕非易事。每一步驟都需要仔細考慮並準確執行,以期取得最大成效。儘 管上市是一家公司發展歷史上的里程碑,但它亦意味公司將要面對更多的股東,監管機構 及其他持分者;而他們亦各自有其要求和期望。上市公司比以往更需要承擔責任,具透明 度和問責。 透過出版這本指南,我們旨在幫助有意在香港上市的公司瞭解每一階段所需要做的工作, 對整個過程瞭如指掌-把所有細節匯集成書,並且清晰和順序地詳加闡釋。本指南所載資 料皆由首次公開招股領域內的頂尖專業人士執筆,為本指南提供了有關上市的最新信息。 今年,我們得到多間卓越非凡的機構支持,它們會將本指南分發給其會員。本指南得以編 纂成書,全賴獲得多間機構以及供稿作者及其所屬公司參與支持,我們謹此致以衷心謝 意。

安報施 香港首次公開招股指南系列執行編輯

106


關於LexisNexis

關於LexisNexis

LexisNexis是Reed Elsevier (Greater China) Limited旗下的公司。本公司通過電子和印刷 形式出版各類法律、稅務、監管及其他資訊,向法律界、商界、政府和學界提供權威訊 息。LexisNexis亦有舉辦高級別會議,及提供培訓與定制出版等服務。

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香港首次公開招股指南2013

序言 香港公司法律顧問協會致辭

通過新股認購而上市是一家企業的重要里程碑,特別是在像香港這樣的全球金融中心進行 上市。然而,越來越多的監管要求及不斷提升的投資者期望令致整個上市過程愈發艱難。 對於期望理解香港上市過程中各種複雜問題的公司法律顧問和其他專業人士而言,這本新 股認購綜合指南可謂是不可多得的信息資料。 香港公司法律顧問協會(協會)於2003年成立,是代表全港公司律師的先驅。本協會為其成 員的職業發展提供了一系列有效且廣泛的幫助和服務,包括持續法律教育,以及一個可供 聯誼,以及交換意見、資訊和經驗的平臺。凡此種種皆協助公司律師成為在公司業務上一 位更可信賴的法律顧問。作為一個由公司法律顧問經營並為公司法律顧問服務的非牟利組 織,本協會引以為豪的是瞭解公司法律顧問團隊的成員所渴望學習、聽取、倡導和參與的 資訊及事件,並舉辦各種活動滿足此等需求。 本協會有超過 600 名會員,他們分別受僱於各個領域範圍內的不同機構,其中近半會員 是透過已有許多領先企業參加的公司會籍計劃這個高度成功的體制而加入本協會。欲知詳 情,請瀏覽協會的網站:www.hkcca.net。

Jasmine Karimi 香港公司法律顧問協會會長

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序言

香港中國企業協會致辭

香港中國企業協會(中企協會)很榮幸與LexisNexis合作推出《香港首次公開招股指南 2013》。此乃全面、實用並具教育意義的刊物,為有興趣在香港上市的公司董事提供最佳 的知識基礎。 中企協會於1991年3月8日成立,現有近一千家會員公司,會員經營業務涉及製造業和服務 業。 中企協會的宗旨是:一、促進內地與香港之間的經貿及技術交流與合作;二、促進內地在 香港及其他國家或地區的投資和海外在內地及香港的投資;三、與香港及其他國家或地區 的商業團體建立並維持密切聯繫;四、促進會員之間的合作及聯繫,鼓勵會員用和解方式 處理商業爭議;五、為會員提供多樣化服務,增進及維護會員利益。請瀏覽中企協會的網 站:www.hkcea.com。

宋林 会长

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香港首次公開招股指南2013

香港銀行學會致辭

香港銀行學會(HKIB)很高興成為LexisNexis推出《香港首次公開招股指南2013》的支持機 構。本指南提供全面的新股上市資訊,讓企業清楚了解當中涉及的複雜程序,有助它們進 行相關的決策與實踐。鑑於香港是主要的上市目的地,本指南對有意來港上市的企業具實 用價值。 香港銀行學會作為一間提供銀行業專業培訓的機構,專門提供銀行業課程及頒發銀行業 專業資格,備受銀行界廣泛認可。該等資格包括「香港銀行學會會士」(AHKIB)、「銀 行業專業認證」(CP)、「銀行業資歷認證」(ABP)及「專業財富管理師」(CFMP)等。此 外,學會積極連繫大中華區及世界各地的銀行從業人員、業界組織和監管機構,以促進 各方之間的交流與合作,成就銀行業持續發展。香港銀行學會成立於1963年,一直是銀 行從業員參與優質培訓、增強資歷及相互交流的平台。欲知詳情,請瀏覽學會的網站: http://www.hkib.org。

梁嘉麗 行政總裁

110


序言

香港會計師公會致辭

香港會計師公會很榮幸成為LexisNexis出版《香港首次公開招股指南2013》的主要支持機 構之一。香港作為國際金融樞紐,向來深受企業歡迎,是全球最頂尖的上市市場之一。這 本指南內容包羅萬有,為香港首次公開招股提供全面的權威信息,是一項非常有意義和有 價值的出版項目。 香港會計師公會成立於1973年1月1日,是香港唯一獲法例授權負責專業會計師註冊兼頒授 執業證書的組織,會員人數逾34,000名,註冊學生人數16,000名。公會會員可採用「會計 師」稱銜(英文為certified public accountant, CPA)。欲知詳情,請瀏覽公會的網站: http://www.hkicpa.org.hk。

丁偉銓 行政總裁兼註冊主任

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香港特許秘書公會致辭

對任何公司來說,成為上市發行人是一項既令人振奮,又令人卻步的任務。監管要求和投 資者期望至關重要。這本首次公開招股指南是寶貴的資源,將有助特許秘書及其他專業人 士瞭解和找到正確途徑成為一名香港上市發行人。 香港特許秘書公會(HKICS)致力在香港以及整個中國範圍內,提升會員在確立和有效實 施良好管治政策方面所扮演的角色,並積極發展特許秘書專業。 香港特許秘書公會成立於1949年,初期屬於設立在倫敦的英國特許秘書及行政人員公會 (ICSA)的香港分會。其後於1990年成為ICSA的一個分支機搆,再於1994年成為一家本 土機構。 公會亦是公司秘書國際聯合會(CSIA)的創會成員,CSIA於2010年3月成立,成為代表全球 公司秘書和管治專業人士的國際聲音。 公會現今擁有超過5,500名會員及約3,200名學員。有關公會詳情,請瀏覽網站: www.hkics.org.hk。

Phillip Baldwin 行政總裁

112


序言

香港董事學會致辭

香港董事學會非常榮幸與LexisNexis合作推出《香港首次公開招股指南2013》。此乃全 面、實用、並具教育意義的刊物,為有興趣在香港上市的公司董事提供最佳的知識基礎。 我相信此指南能為你提供最適用的首次公開招股資訊。 香港董事學會為香港代表專業董事的首要組織,其宗旨是促進所有公司的持久成就;為達 成使命,學會致力提倡優秀企業管治與釐訂相關標準,以及協助董事的專業發展。學會為 非分配利潤組織,成員是上市及非上市公司的董事,致力為董事提供教育項目及資訊服 務,並代表董事發表具影響性的意見。學會具備國際視野,置身多元文化環境,以兩文三 語執行會務。網址:www.hkiod.com。

黃天祐博士DBA FHKIoD 主席

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香港首次公開招股指南2013

香港證券及投資學會致辭

香港證券及投資學會(學會)謹此祝賀LexisNexis出版《香港首次公開招股指南2013》。 香港為亞洲的金融中樞,亦在首次公開招股集資額上佔領先地位。學會的使命之一是要為 會員及市場從業員制定專業才能及操守的準則,故我們支持業界出版本指南教育金融界專 才。這會是金融從業員、法律及審計界專業人士、和其他與事各方知悉更多首次公開招股 過程資料的良好工具。 學會於1997年成立,是區內證券及投資業專業會員組織,提供全面的會員服務、培訓課 程、活動、及國際認可考試,協助培育金融業人才和鞏固香港的國際金融中心地位。學會 董事局和委員會成員均由行內資深從業員出任,為學會籌謀發展方針,及為學會會員帶來 頂級的市場專業知識。欲知詳情,請瀏覽學會的網站:www.hksi.org。

陳顏文玲 ACA, MHKSI, MHKICPA, FHKIOD 行政總裁

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第一章 為何選擇在香港上市

第一章 為何選擇在香港上市

引言

當公司業務具有了一定的規模之後,上市成為了使公司業務向更高一層發展的可選途徑。 毋庸置疑的是,上​​市公司相比私人公司而言有著許多優勢,但這些優勢卻需要付上代價。 在決定企業是否要上市時須權衡上市對於公司業務發展所帶來的利弊,考慮公司業務的特 殊需求以及瞭解公司想要達到的目標。 除此之外,在作出上市決定之前還需要考慮公司的業務是否適合上市,是否滿足了上 市的要求,要選擇哪個交易所進行上市及如何籌備上市等,這些都是需要考慮的重要問 題。 本章概述公司在制定上市計劃前需考慮的不同問題,列出公司在香港上市需滿足的基 本要求,以及就首次公開招股前有助公司順利上市的前期准備工作提出一些建議。

上市與否—一個重要的決定

以首次公開招股方式成功上市不僅僅是一項集資活動。它也有助於加強公司在公眾的形象 以及提昇公司的優越感。不過,如果沒有完備的計劃而草率上市則會產生反效果。在某些 極端的案例中,公司在上市之後,因為上市帶來更多的壞處而不得不選擇退市。正因為上 市是公司發展史的一個重要裡程碑,在決定上市與否時絕不能輕率而行。下文列出上市利 弊應予考慮及權衡的因素: 融資的便利與上市費用 就融資方面而言,一家上市公司相比一家私人公司有著明顯的優勢。相對於私人公司可以 融資的其他方式(例如債務融資)而言,首次公開招股是一個成本效益較高的融資方式。 另外,上市公司可以很容易且便宜地以發行新股的方式進行再融資。此外,上市公司通常 可以在向銀行融資時享受更優惠的貸款條件。一旦上市,銀行可能會解除主要股東對公司 向銀行貸款之個人擔保。

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香港首次公開招股指南2013

不過,首次公開招股在籌備過程中牽涉大額支出。謹慎的預算及精確的執行是確保首 次公開招股的成本效益之重要保障。擬上市公司可以通過分期支付專業人士的費用的方式 來控製成本風險。如有需要,擬上市公司可以考慮引入上市前投資者為公司帶來現金流。 股本流動性和不受歡迎的股東 一家私人公司的股東很難增持或減持他/她在該公司的股份,因為那樣會涉及複雜的業務 估值及可能在股東之間造成緊張的關係,特別是對那些家族企業而言,任何對現行股​​權架 構的改變都可能引發家庭問題,從而進一步發展成股東之間的糾紛。公司上市使得資本流 動性提高,創始股東也有途徑可將於公司中的投資套現,有利於減低股東糾紛的風險。 不過,股本流動性帶來的負面影響是上市公司不能避免讓不受歡迎的投資者成為其股 東。上市公司的股權分布需要密切關註,以防被競爭者或其他投資者出價收購。 知名度與市場監管;聲譽與合規責任 公司上市是品質的象徵。上市顯示出公司遵守更高標準的合規要求及企業管治。上市也是 提昇公司公眾形象和透明度的有效途徑。這些都增加了公司的產品或服務在市場中的知名 度。 然而,對於上市公司而言,公眾知名度的提昇換來的代價是公司需要受到市場監管。 上市公司會面對更多的股東、監管機構及其他持份者的要求和期望。此外,上市公司也須 承擔更嚴苛的合規責任。因此,只有那些擁有能力及堅定的管理層,且已准備好展現高標 準的企業管治和透明度的公司,才適宜接受上市的挑戰。

為甚麼選擇在香港上市?

當一家公司決定上市後,接著要考慮選擇一個最合適的市場進行上市。香港聯合交易所 (港交所)對於許多本地和國際企業來說都是一個極具吸引力的上市地點。港交所就其所有 上市證券的總市值而言排名世界第七1,而港交所在過去幾年以首次公開招股的數量而言亦 是最繁忙的證券交易市場。它之所以這麼受歡迎皆因以下優勢: 中國內地及世界各地之間的橋梁 享有位處高增長地區之利,香港盡握中國內地市場急速增長所提供的種種機遇。港交所讓 中國內地的業務可以接觸到世界各地投資者的資本投資。與此同時,港交所也為國際投資 者在中國內地投資提供了良好的平台。再者,國際品牌在港交所上市,以取得中國內地的 資金,提昇品牌在中國內地的知名度,亦成為一種趨勢。 抓住中國大陸發展機遇的戰略計劃 根據港交所2010至2012年的戰略計劃,港交所致力於吸引更多新的大中華地區的公司或將

1

取自www.world-exchanges.org的2011年的數據

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第一章 為何選擇在香港上市

中國作為市場擴展方向的公司進行上市。抓住人民幣國際化昇溫的機遇,港交所正研究新 的產品,構建平台和基礎建設,旨在成為一個國際投資者能選擇投資人民幣計價產品的交 易所。 流動市場,資金可以自由進出 因為有本地和國際資金進出,港交所是一個充滿活力及流動的證券市場。香港不設資金限 制,加上有許多稅務優惠,貨幣可自由兌換,證券可自由轉讓,對公司企業和投資者都具 有吸引力。 因為是通往中國內地的門戶,加上高流動性的市場,預期港交所將繼續在區內傲視同 儕,成為企業和投資者的選擇。 穩健的法律制度和完善的監管框架 一個完善穩健的法律制度是香港成功的重要基石。港交所受符合國際標準的一套明確且完 善的監管框架約束。這為企業在香港募集資金提供了堅實的基礎,也有助於增強投資者的 信心。 雖然在上海或者深圳以A股上市有更高的市盈率,許多內地企業仍然選擇在香港上市, 因為港交所適用一套更加客觀的上市標準及更有保證的上市時間錶。這些都有益於上市的 籌備以及為上市申請的過程帶來確定性。

您的公司業務是否適合及符合上市條件?

決定在香港上市後,擬上市公司必須考慮公司是否滿足了港交所的上市准則。首先,在港 交所看來,公司及其業務必須是適合上市的2。此外,公司必須滿足《上市規則》中的上市 要求。 是否適合上市 雖然沒有是否適合上市的測試,但以下這些情況一般會引起港交所的顧慮: • 公司對於自身業務沒有控制權且不能獨立的從事自身業務作為主要活動。例如,公 司過多依賴一個客戶或供貨商3或者過分依賴於一個相關方4,母公司或者控權股東的​ 幫助5;

2

《香港聯合交易所有限公司證券上市規則》(《上市規則》) 第8.04條;《香港聯合交易所有限公司 創業板證券上市規則》(《創業板規則》) 第11.06條 3 2010年10月刊發的上市決策(HKEx-LD107-1) 4 2010年5月刊發的上市決策(HKEx-LD92-1) 5 2005年7月刊發的上市決策(HKEx-LD46-1);2005年7月刊發的上市決策(HKEx-LD46-2); 2006年3 月刊發的上市決策(HKEx-LD51-1);2006年3月刊發的上市決策(HKEx-LD51-3); 及2012年4月刊發 的上市決策(HKEx-LD30-2012)

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• 公司有違反過監管規定的不良紀錄6;或 • 公司的財政狀況持續惡化以及業務前景的不確定性7。 不遵守監管規定及違法行為 上市申請人通常在其上市文件中披露公司曾不遵守監管規定或違法行為。通常披露的違規 情形包括: • 香港公司沒有根據《公司條例》(第32章)的相關規定召開周年大會或者提交公司賬 目; • 香港公司沒有根據《公司條例》的相關規定向公司註冊處提交指定的錶格;及 • 沒有為中國內地雇員支付或不完全繳足社保金。 不遵守監管規定或有違法行為未必導致擬上市公司不適合上市。港交所會考慮違反行 為的本質和嚴重性,是否牽涉故意欺瞞或者不誠實,違反的後果對於公司持續運營的影響 及防止進一步違反的措施等。8大部份情況下,港交所會批准上市,只要其在上市文件中完 全披露不遵守監管規定或違法行為的詳情。對於嚴重的違反行為,港交所可能會推遲上市 的進程,以瞭解違反行為所帶來的全面影響及防範措施的有效性。 主板上市資格 除了適合上市之外,上市申請人必須符合《上市規則》所載的三項財務測試的其中一項︰ (1) 盈利測試;(2) 市值╱收入測試;或(3) 市值╱收入╱現金流量測試。 盈利測試

市值╱收益測試

市值╱收入╱現金流 量測試

最低股東應占盈利 最近一個財政年度至少 —

達2,000萬港元,及前 兩個財政年度累計盈利 至少達3,000萬港元 上市時最低市值

2億港元

40億港元

最低收入

最近一個經審計財政 最近一個經審計財政

20億港元

最低現金流量

年度達5億港元

年度達5億港元

前三個財政年度來自 營運業務的現金流入 合計1億港元

6

2010年7月刊發的上市決策(HKEx-LD97-1);2011年9月刊發的上市決策(HKEx-LD19-2011) 2012年9月刊發的上市決策(HKEx-LD37-2012) 8 2010年7月刊發的上市決策(HKEx-LD97-1) 7

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第一章 為何選擇在香港上市

此外,上市申請人亦須證明: • 具備至少三個財政年度的營業紀錄,在至少前三個財政年度管理層大致維持不變,以 及在至少最近一個經審計財政年度擁有權及控制權大致維持不變9; • 其營運資金足夠現時及上市後至少12個月的需要; • 任何時候公眾人士10持有的股份須占已發行股本總額至少25%,即公眾持股量合共市值 須至少達5,000萬港元;及 • 上市後至少有300名股東。 一般而言,若公司未能符合上述規定,則無資格於港交所主板上市(除非在個別情況下 港交所同意放寬該等規定)。然而,該等公司仍可於創業板上市。創業板是港交所營運的 另一個股票市場,供具有增長潛力但未能符合主板財務測試的企業上市。 創業板上市要求 上市申請人必須符合以下條件,方具備於創業板上市的申請資格: • 前兩個財政年度來自日常經營業務的現金流入合計至少達2,000萬港元; • 上市時市值至少達1億港元。與主板的規定相同,任何時侯公眾人士持有的股份須占 公司已發行股本總額至少25%,而就創業板公司而言,公眾持股量合共的最低市值為 3,000萬港元; • 具備至少兩個財政年度的營業紀錄,管理層至少前兩個財政年度維持不變,以及在至 少最近一個經審計財政年度擁有權及控制權均維持不變;及 • 上市後至少有100名股東。 創業板的定位為躍進主板的跳板。倘若符合主板上市條件,創業板上市公司其後可申 請轉往主板上市。 基於其獨特性質,礦業公司或新成立的工程項目公司在香港上市時將受特別的上市資 格及要求規管。詳情請參閱第五章(籌備首次公開招股—具體上市事宜)。

如何准備首次公開招股? 首次公開招股前檢查

擬上市申請公司在制定上市計劃時,應在早期階段先咨詢專業人士的意見,藉以全面理解

9

倘若公司通過市值╱收入測試,並證明(i)其董事及管理層具備有關其業務╱行業至少三年的充裕 及豐富經驗;及(ii)管理層在至少最近一個經審計財政年度維持不變,則港交所可能接納由大致相 同的管理層所經營的較短營業紀錄。 10 倘若公司預期上市時市值超過100億港元,則港交所可接納一個介乎15%至25%之間的較低公眾持 股量百分比。

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上市要求,以及港交所對擬上市申請公司及其業務的審批態度。法律顧問、會計師及╱或 保薦人公司,可以為將上市的業務提供首次公開招股前檢查,以盡早找出重大問題,並為 擬上市申請公司建議解決方案。擬上市申請公司可根據專業人士的意見制定上市行動計 劃,這將有利於項目管理和費用支出的控制。 首次公開招股前重組 首次公開招股的過程通常涉及集團重組,其目的是將集團組織成一個合適的上市架構。該 等重組通常在提交上市申請前的短時間內進行。然而,在某些情況下,擬上市公司會在較 早階段開始重組,否則上市進程可能會被延遲。 舉例說,部分商業合作伙伴可能會使用不同的實體經營業務。倘他們不能證明該等實 體是在他們的共同控制下營運,該等實體將不會被視為一個法律團體,而申報會計師則不 能為該等實體准備綜合帳目。因此,該等實體的業績、資產及負債只能在重組後合併到集 團帳目。在此情況下,上市集團有可能因部份業績不被納入帳目而達不到上市要求,而合 作伙伴需要等待更長的時間方能把業務上市。 此外,有時目前的集團架構未能包括所有重要的附屬營運公司、資產及業務,或可能 已包括一些應被排除的業務。在此情況下,首次公開發售前重組應提前進行,以便在業績 紀錄期間的業績反映出加入或排除的業務或資產對集團的影響。 首次公開招股前重組要求謹慎考慮各方面因素,當中包括法律,稅務和會計的影響, 以及《上市規則》之要求。為確保已考慮全面因素,公司應咨詢法律顧問及會計師的意 見。 首次公開招股前融資 公司可能會在上市前需要資金周轉。擬上市公司可考慮引進策略投資者以獲取資金及取得 策略投資者的業務經驗。不少私募基金、對衝基金及投資銀行願意投資在未上市的公司, 並以及後公司的首次公開招股套現獲利為目標。這些投資者可能會直接投資普通股或可換 股工具以作回報。由於不同投資架構會對公司的財務狀況做成不同影響,因此首次公開招 股前的融資需要小心策划。 首次公開招股成功與否涉及風險,因而首次公開招股前的投資者通常會被給予大額折 讓。該些投資者亦可能會要求一些特別權利以保障他們。港交所並不一定會容許此等優 待。詳情請參閱第五章(籌備首次公開招股-具體上市事宜)。

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第一章 為何選擇在香港上市

聲明

以上內容涉及十分專門和複雜的法律知識或法律程序。本文只是對有關題目的一般概述, 僅供參考之用,不能作為任何個別案件的法律意見。如需進一步的法律諮詢或協助,請聯 絡我們的律師。

聯繫我們 柯伍陳律師事務所 電話:(852) 2810 1212 傳真:(852) 2804 6311 香港中環德輔道中10號東亞銀行大廈14-15樓 網頁:www.onc.hk 張國明 合伙人 公司及商業部門主管 直線:(852) 2107 0347 電郵:raymond.cheung@onc.hk 黃麗文 律師 直線:(852) 2107 0311 電郵:angel.wong@onc.hk

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第二章 申報會計師的角色 香估和報告。

港上市規則規定,公司必須聘用申報會計師對公司招股說明書中的財務信息進行評

作為向公眾提出認購或購買一家公司股份或債券的邀請,招股說明書內容須遵守相關 的香港聯交所(港交所)主板 / 創業板上市規則、《公司條例》、《證券(權益披露)條例》 和《關於收購、合併及股份購回守則》等規定。 這些規則訂明招股說明書必須包括一份會計師報告。擬備這份報告的會計師,也被稱 為申報會計師,必須符合《專業會計師條例》規定的資格要求方可獲委任為審計師。(香 港會計師公會可提供香港的合資格會計師清單。) 根據香港會計師公會《核數指引》第3.340號「招股章程及申報會計師」的規定:

招股說明書的申報會計師必須提供針對相關公司和集團(如適用)的財務信息的獨立 聲明。此聲明中會出具一個意見,並連同由公司及其獨立估價師提供的招股說明書中 的其他信息來幫助潛在投資者決定是否接受要約或邀請對印發招股說明書的公司或集 團進行投資。

對申報會計師有甚麼期望?

申報會計師在公司的首次公開招股中發揮了不可或缺的作用。為了確保首次公開招股流程 順利高效地進行,在很早的規划過程中就讓申報會計師參與進來是至關重要的,最理想是 在董事會獲得股東批准進行上市之前。 申報會計師將徹底檢查公司的賬目及其結構,以確保公司將能符合所有香港上市規則 和條例、一般公認會計原則和相關的財務報告准則。在某些情況下,申報會計師可以協助 集團重組。在其他情況下,申報會計師可以提供指引來協助該公司的內部會計師重建財務 細節以使其紀錄滿足對上市公司的要求。 申報會計師可以進行稅務合規審查,以確保任何潛在的稅務問題在公司上市前得到及 時解決。 申報會計師也在公司的招股說明書的編寫方面發揮關鍵作用。他們必須對該公司的歷 史財務信息和調整聲明提供會計師報告。申報會計師會對招股說明書中的營運資本充足 性、債務狀況、有形資產凈值、關聯方交易和任何盈利預測以及其他財務信息做出評論。 申報會計師需要核實招股說明書中其它部分的財務信息,並確保所有信息與會計師報 告一致。

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要完成所有這些任務,申報會計師需要會見首次公開招股的所有參與方,他們包括保 薦人、律師和估價師。申報會計師也隨時准備協助公司管理層處理港交所提出的任何查 詢。

申報會計師將編寫的內容 會計師報告

會計師報告必須詳細說明發行人在營業紀錄期間 (相關期間)的歷史財務信息。對於在主板 上市的申請人,相關期間應涵蓋緊接著招股說明書刊發前至少三個財政年度的財務報錶; 對於在創業板上市的申請人,這個期間為至少兩個財政年度。相關期間必須在招股說明書 刊發前六個月或以內結束。 如果上個報告期結束與招股說明書日期之間的間隔超過六個月,可以提供中期(一般 稱為彙報期末段)財務報錶。彙報期末段的比較數據必須由申報會計師依據《香港審閱業 務准則》第2410號-中期財務數據審閱的規定進行審閱。 財務信息應按照《香港財務報告准則》或《國際財務報告准則》擬備。中華人民共和 國的發行人也可選擇根據《中國企業會計准則》(中國公認會計原則)編寫財務信息。財 務信息必須包括報告期間的綜合損益錶、 財務狀況、 現金流和報告期內任何所有者權益 的改變。 附加信息 如認為潛在投資者有必要瞭解發行人更多的財務錶現和狀況,港交所可要求在會計師報告 中披露附加信息。在某些情況下,港交所可要求招股說明書中包含新收購子公司的財務細 節和預測,以使潛在投資者對新單位在上市集團中所擔任的預期財務角色有徹底瞭解。 董事負責財務信息的編制。申報會計師負責獲取足夠的相關和可靠證據以提出意見。 申報會計師的意見應指出以下事項: - 財務信息是基於該公司及其子公司的已審計財務報錶; - 已進行所有認為必要的調整(或沒有必要調整); - 開展的工作是根據《香港會計師公會會員手冊》卷三-審計及保證標準第AG3.340號 規定進行;及 - 財務信息是否真實公允地反映了公司在相關期間的財政事務和結果。 調整說明 根據港交所《上市規則》,申報會計師須擬備一份調整說明,以使法定審計的財務報錶數 據與會計師報告中的數據可以對賬。這份會向公眾公開的調整說明必須列出每一項調整並 闡明原因。 對之前審計的財務報錶做調整,可能出於以下原因: • 確保會計師報告中的財務信息是一致和可比的。例如,確保公司各種財產的價值計算 使用了相同的方法。

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• 重要錯誤的更正、資產負債錶項目的重新分類及其他申報會計師認為適當的事項。 備考財務資料 《上市規則》要求招股說明書在某些情況下提供備考財務資料。 備考財務資料應顯示如果一項交易(如重大收購)在較早時期發生,公司的歷史財務 報錶會如何呈現。 如果發行人在最近的報告期後作出重大收購,必須提供備考財務資料。被收購子公司 的財務報錶將包含在備考財務資料中,對擴大後的集團財務狀況重新報告,猶如收購交易 在財務信息的最後日期已經產生影響。《香港會計師公會會員手冊》卷二財務報告准則的 《會計指引》第 7號-「編制備考財務資料以載入投資通函」,就有關編制備考報錶提供 更多的指引。 香港的上市規則還規定,正在尋求上市的公司應出具為每類證券的有形資產凈值說 明。這份說明應把招股說明書中將予發行的新股考慮在內。 凡在招股說明書中載有備考資料,申報會計師必鬚根據《香港投資通函呈報准則》第 300號-投資通函內的備考財務資料的會計師報告的要求擬備一份關於備考財務資料的會 計師報告,並就以下問題提出意見: - 備考財務資料是在所述會計基礎上正確編制的; - 備考財務資料的編制基礎與發行人的會計政策一致; - 就備考財務資料所作的任何調整都是適當的。 申報會計師的工作主要包括將未調整的財務信息和原始檔比較,考慮任何調整的支持 證據,以及向董事查詢相關流程。這不構成審計或審閱。 營運資本充足性的審查 《上市規則》要求董事在招股說明書中說明發行人的營運資本在招股說明書公布之日起至 少 12 個月是否能夠滿足集團的需要。如果營運資本被認為不足夠,招股說明書應概述董 事如何募集額外營運資本的建議。 通常的做法是,董事將編制現金流預測來說明營運資本的充足性。現金流預測應涵蓋 自招股說明書刊發日期起計至少一年的時間。 申報會計師要對現金流預測的假設進行審查,方法是參考發行人可獲得的現有或未來 的貸款和資源,其中可能包括目前貸款條件以及供應商和顧客的信貸政策。 申報會計師向董事提供私人告慰函來確認是否:1) 董事關於營運資本充足性的說明是 在盡職和仔細的詢問後作出的;2)向發行人提供融資的個人或機構有書面說明,證明相 關的融資條件是真實存在的。 同意書 如果招股說明書中包含有申報會計師或法律顧問等參與首次公開招股過程的專家所作出的

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第二章 申報會計師的角色

聲明,該些專家必須對印發招股說明書提供同意書。 申報會計師必須對含有其報告或聲明的招股說明書刊發錶示同意,報告和聲明包括會 計師報告和針對盈利預測的告慰函。這些同意書需在公司註冊處和港交所備案,供公眾查 閱。 債務 作為首次公開招股流程的一部分,發行人必須披露其在最近實際可行日期的債務水平,包 括銀行貸款、透支或類似負債、租購承諾、擔保或其他重大的或有負債。如沒有借款,發 行人在招股說明書中應記錄一個「無」的聲明,也稱否定聲明。 債務報錶日期應為刊發招股說明書的兩個月或以內。董事負責此報錶的編制。申報會 計師負責構寫並提供告慰函,當中也許就發行人借款包含以反面保證方式提供合理保證, 它的形式是作出「我們沒有發現任何需要對負債報錶做調整的理由」的聲明。 盈利預測審閱 招股說明書不一定須包括盈利預測。但是,如果發行人選擇包含此信息,申報會計師應對 盈利預測進行審閱和報告。 招股說明書中的任何盈利預測應根據適用於上市公司盈利預測的規則來制定。在盈利 預測的編制中,董事應盡可能謹慎,預測必須清楚地說明其依據的假設。申報會計師應當 對盈利預測中使用的會計政策和計算進行審閱和報告,並說明其採用的會計政策是否與發 行人財務報錶中所使用的政策一致。 董事對盈利預測負全責,他們的批准應在董事會會議紀錄中註明。此外,還有要求規 定保薦人應報告他們是否滿意在董事的盡職和仔細問詢後才作出預測。 申報會計師不負責對盈利預測的假設進行報告,也不負責對公司是否有可能達到盈利 預測做聲明。然而,申報會計師應在他們的報告中註明是否有任何假設是不切實際的,或 是否有任何重要信息被遺漏。 發行人的董事或保薦人決定預測期。預測期通常始於最近經審計財務報錶所涵蓋的一 年或更少,到下一個財政年度終止或半年結束。 實際上,提供後續期的預測是不常見的,除非: (a) 本期中至少 10 個月已過 ; (b) 公司的運營可提供合理準確的預測,如房產投資公司。 申報會計師應根據《核數指引》第 3.341號「有關盈利預測的會計師報告」的規定對盈 利預測進行審閱並提供意見:

就會計政策和計算而言,在招股說明書中列明的盈利預測是在董事會做出的假設的基 礎上正確編制,並與發行人通常採用的會計政策一致。

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作為審閱程序的一部分,申報會計師必需: - 瞭解業務性質和市場條件 - 瞭解現有的集團結構(和預測期間可能發生的變化) - 瞭解董事編制預測的程序 - 評估任何先前預測的質量 - 對預測和實際數據進行比較和更新 - 詢問如何得出各項假設 - 質疑任何看上去不恰當或不實際的假設

關聯方交易

《香港會計准則》(《國際會計准則》第24號)有包含對關聯方的定義,而港交所的《上 市規則》也有包含對關聯方交易的披露要求。關聯方交易可以包括銷售、發行人與由董事 控股公司間的採購或預付、有關聯公司、合資企業、關鍵管理人員和/或主要股東。過去 十年,對關聯方的定義被擴大到包括關鍵管理人員。 披露關聯方交易的目的是確保公司的財務報錶引起潛在投資者的註意,因而有可能令 公司的財務狀況和盈虧可能受到關聯方及公司與關聯方之間的交易和未清余額的影響。 與關聯方的關係可能對企業的盈虧和財務狀況產生影響。關聯方也可能與企業發生獨 立方(無關聯方)不可能達成的交易。例如,企業以與其他客戶不可能實現的成本價把貨 物賣給母公司。此外,關聯方間的交易金額也可能和獨立企業間的交易金額不同。 因此,關聯方交易的存在會影響潛在投資者如何評估一家公司的運營,招股說明書也 應列明關聯方交易所導致的風險和機會。 關聯方的披露要求對尋求在港交所上市的中國內地公司帶來個別問題。許多這類企業 過去十年在業務上有長足發展,但組織結構常常跟不上業務增長。經驗告訴我們,這些公 司的高級管理人員通常不瞭解由《香港財務報告准則》和香港上市規則所定義的關聯方交 易。 中國內地公司可能沒有對關聯方交易保留完整紀錄,也可能對此類交易沒有足夠的內 部控制。此外,在子公司層級上發生的重大關聯方交易可能不會充分報回至總部。所有者 資金和運營產生的資金在業務/現金流上沒有區分開的現象在中國公司中也是常見的。某 些通過所有者銀行賬戶進行的現金流入和流出可能沒有被適當地發現並記錄。 申報會計師須對關聯方關係及其交易的性質和業務理由有充分的瞭解,從而對由其導 致的重大錯報風險進行識別,評估並作出反應。有時,如果管理層沒有作出識別或披露, 關聯方關係及其交易是很難被發現的。特別是在缺乏適當記錄的情況下,申報會計師可能 有時需要依賴管理層對關聯方交易的錶述。 申報會計師可能需要使用以下程序來識別關聯方交易: • 要求管理層人員提供一份關聯方的名單和他們在營業紀錄期間與公司發生的任何交易 的清單。

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• 審查董事會會議紀錄中提到的已授權交易 ; • 對投資交易進行瞭解和評估,例如合資企業或其他實體股本權益的購買或出售; • 審查重大、不尋常或非周期性交易或余額的會計紀錄;例如,對高級人員、董事、有 聯繫公司及個人的貸款; • 進行背景檢查,可能是通過對與企業有重大或不尋常交易的當事人進行公司搜索或實 地拜訪。 在某些情況下,港交所可能要求申報會計師對披露的數據與參與交易的其他當事人當 地的財務報錶進行對賬。發行人可能需要考慮上市後是否將繼續進行這些類型的交易。

採用國際標準

在某些情況下,不是所有的擬上市集團旗下公司的現行財務報錶都是根據《香港財務報告 准則》、《國際財務報告准則》或《中國公認會計原則》編制的。也可能整個集團內部實 行的會計政策並不一致。申報會計師可以為如何處理這種情況提供建議。

公司重組

作為上市過程的一部分,公司集團的重組是常見的現象。例如,如果兩個實體都由公司創 始人控制,卻不在同一控股公司之下,公司可改制為一組。 重組可能涉及一些資產或業務的轉讓。申報會計師應參與這一過程來監督由此交易引 起的任何會計問題。也可能需要進行稅務檢查以確保新結構的稅務效率。

賬目重組

在公司沒有保存足夠帳目和紀錄的情況下,其內部會計師需要為上市重建賬本和紀錄。這 對中國私營企業通常是必要的。在某些情況下,該公司可能沒有單位成本、毛利潤分析和 庫存變動等詳細資料。申報會計師可向內部會計師提供指引來幫助完成此過程。

合規審閱

即使作出決定進行首次公開招股前,申報會計師可以對公司的會計政策和一般會計操作 (如收入確認和資產減值方法)進行合規檢查,以確定帳目是否遵循一般公認會計原則和 香港上市規則。 申報會計師也可在三年營業紀錄期前進行稅務合規檢查,以確保任何可能的稅務問題 得到及時解決。 申報會計師可以協助收集信息,以確保公司滿足對關聯方交易的全面和複雜的披露要 求。 申報會計師還可以審閱以前公布的有保留意見的財務報錶。在某些情況下,上市公司 集團內的公司可能因為沒有編制合併報錶或沒有進行年終存貨盤點而發布了有保留意見的 財務報錶。在某些情況下,申報會計師可以進行額外的調整來解決這些保留意見,使得招 股說明書中的會計師報告不再有保留意見。

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公司聘用的申報會計師在應對港交所的工作上應擁有豐富經驗。他們將能夠汲取過往 經驗來為發行人提供寶貴意見,以確保發行人對首次公開招股流程做好充分准備。

委任申報會計師時應考慮的事項 選擇經驗豐富和有能力的申報會計師可以簡化上市程序,並減少發生任何預期之外的 負面因素。 選擇申報會計師時應考慮的事項包括: - 會計師事務所的聲譽,特別是提供首次公開招股服務的聲譽 - 申報會計師在發行人的行業和業務活動的專業知識 - 提名的申報會計師是否符合《專業會計師條例》的資格要求 - 申報會計師擁有類似的上市安排或集團重組的經驗 - 申報會計師的收費是否可以接受和合理(考慮任務的規模和複雜性) - 任務範圍-申報會計師是否可以承擔在本章列出的所有主要角色和職責。把這些 任務分配給不同的事務所並不常見,最具成本效益和省時的做法是由一家申報會 計師事務所提供審計,稅務及其它首次公開招股盡職審查工作。 - 潛在的會計師事務所是否有涉及任何法律訴訟及/或涉及與發行人已計劃的首次 公開招股有關的法律訴訟。 - 公司和申報會計師事務所是否可以就時間錶達成一致意見,這將使雙方都可以達 到首次公開招股流程緊迫的截止期限。 - 任何可能會影響申報會計師獨立性的與上市集團管理層及/或所有者間的衝突。

關於申報會計師角色的總結和結論

申報會計師雖然是被強制規定參與首次公開招股的過程,它可以為公司在成為香港上市公 司這一新階段中提供極大的幫助。 如這一章所示,經驗豐富的申報會計師可提供一系列廣泛的協助,不僅僅是確保首次 公開招股過程有效而順利地進行,而且讓公司符合其所有合規責任。

聯繫我們 凱譽香港有限公司 香港中環皇后大道中15號置地廣場 告羅士打大廈8樓 電話: +852 3589 8899 傳真: +852 3589 8555 電郵: hongkong@kcs.com

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第三章 財務資料規定及業務轉型

由某些限制條件下,香港聯合交易所(港交所)可以酌情豁免上市申請人完全遵守下 於出版本指引是用作一般性參考,因此僅能在較高層次討論本章中涉及的問題。在

述上市規則的相關部分內容。是否准予這些豁免,將按個別情況而定。2010年後,人們對 第二上市興趣增加,境外上市申請人尤甚。港交所更傾向於對尋求第二上市的上市申請人 給予豁免,前提是他們可以證明其已經在一級市場遵守適當及相近的規例。本章節所提供 的資料集中於對尋求第一上市的上市申請人的要求,就第二章討論財務資料規定作出更深 入的探討,並涵蓋在香港上市前有可能需要進行業務轉型所涉及的重要問題。

財務資料規定 會計師報告

尋求上市的公司必須在招股章程中包含財務資料,以便潛在投資者能夠評估集團的財務表 現和財務狀況。該財務資料必須涵蓋緊接招股章程之日前三年(針對主板上市申請人)及 至少前兩年(針對創業板)的內容。最近的呈報期不得早於招股章程公佈之日前六個月。 這往往導致連同一個額外的「追加期間」與可比較的資料一起呈報。 申報會計師的角色是就上述財務資料發表意見,說明它們是否真實、公平地反映各個 報告期的業績和現金流量,以及各呈報期結束時的資產負債狀況。上述經審計的財務資料 在「會計師報告」中呈報,並通常收納為招股章程的附錄。 公司應當確保及早與申報會計師討論會計師報告,因為納入IPO 招股章程中的公司財 務資料必須符合香港《上市規則》和香港《公司條例》所規定的狀況與實務,而它們可能 有別於公司先前編製的財務報表。例如,先前的財務報表可能按一般公認會計原則,而非 港交所可接受的會計準則列報;或者將要上市的公司可能是更大的現有公司的分支部門。 若然,申報會計師將協助公司編製所需的附加財務資料。這往往是重要且耗時的工作。 港交所目前接受遵照《香港財務報告準則》(HKFRS)、《國際財務報告準則》(IFRS) 及《中華人民共和國企業會計準則》(適用於內地發行人)呈報的財務資料。但是,公司 應當與投資銀行討論潛在股東可能面對的目標市場,因為某些投資者可能選擇採用特定的 會計準則。

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第三章 財務資料規定及業務轉型

隨著公司財務制度變得更為複雜,它還應當著手編製中期財務報表。及時編製這些報 表有助於提升投資銀行對公司的積極評價。此外,著手編製中期財務報表亦有助於加快 IPO流程,因為它們可能需要納入會計師報告中,視乎刊發招股章程的時間而定。

管理層討論和分析

無法說明相關因素對公司表現的影響是許多公司面臨的重大阻礙。招股章程及今後的所有 財務報表將要求包含與公司財務報表相關的「管理層討論與分析」(MD&A),那是對公司 的表現進行定量及定性的討論。公司需要深入說明銷量及成本結構變動、流動性及資本資 源、現金流的來源及用途、賣方關係、僱員薪酬、異常的非經常性費用、重大環境風險及 其他風險和不確定因素等項目。穩健詳細的MD&A若能夠對公司表現作出清楚的解釋,非 常有助於港交所評估申請人是否適宜上市,並協助公司與潛在投資者溝通。因此,撰寫優 質、全面的 MD&A 將加快公司的IPO進程,是邁向公眾公司營運模式的重要一步。

備考財務資料

《上市規則》要求所有上市申請人在招股章程中納入相關資料,說明尋求上市的各類證券 的淨有形資產支持。該資料納入招股章程,向潛在投資者說明申請人股份上市會如何影響 公司的財務資料。呈報方式是採用會計師報告中包含的最新經審計資產負債表財務資料, 並加以調整,以反映上市所得款項及擬發行的股份數量。該資料由董事編製,作為招股章 程附錄納入。上市規則還要求上市申請人延聘申報會計師,就備考財務資料作出報告, 說明是否根據集團的會計政策,按所述會計基礎加以編製,並且調整項目合乎《上市規 則》。該報告亦在招股章程中列述。備考報表往往是擬提交財務資料的最後部分,因為要 在得知發售所得款項後才能完成該報表。

盈利預測

《上市規則》或《公司條例》均未要求將盈利預測納入招股章程。如果上市申請人認為盈 利預測十分有利於招股進程及股份適銷,亦可於與投資銀行商討後自願加入盈利預測。倘 若招股章程中載有盈利預測,《上市規則》要求其做到清晰、明確,並以明示方式呈報, 並且必須說明預測所依據的主要假設(包括商業假設)。《上市規則》還規定,如果將盈 利預測納入招股章程,則必須隨附申報會計師的報告,說明是按所述基礎編製該盈利預 測。申報會計師還必須在其報告中說明他們是否認為任何該等編製盈利預測的假設有不合 理之處。 公司上市後,預測所針對的期間必須接受審計,正因如此,一般僅對發行人下一財政 年度結束日前的期間呈報盈利預測,以避免額外的審計成本。如果發行人的實際業績顯著 偏離招股章程中預測的資料,該發行人必須在其年度或中期報告中對差異作出解釋。 收納盈利預測會給發行人的董事帶來更大程度的風險,公司應當仔細考慮納入該等資 料的成本和收益,確定其是否會給招股帶來重大好處。 作為港交所審批流程的一部分,發行人必須向港交所遞交涵蓋至發行人下一年度末期 間的盈利預測備忘錄。該資料屬私密性質,不納入招股章程,申報會計師亦無須對其出具

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報告。但是,董事應當確保該資料按照與納入招股章程中資料類似的適當基礎加以編製, 使得港交所能夠評估公司的前景及有關其未來發展的披露。董事可以要求申報會計師對上 述備忘錄的形式和內容提供反饋意見。盈利預測備忘錄通常與營運資金備忘錄(見下文) 合併一起。

債務詳情表

上市申請人必須於招股章程刊發前的最近可行日期,在其招股章程中披露集團債務詳情。 這項披露旨在向潛在投資者提供更多納入會計師報告的最新經審計資產負債表日期之後有 關申請人財務狀況的最新資料。上市規則中債務詳情的定義包括集團的借貸資金、借款、 按揭或押記,以及債務和或有負債。關於「最近可行日期」的定義並無正式指引。但是在 實務中,港交所認可的期限不會超過招股章程之日期後八個星期。發行人通常會延聘申報 會計師就債務詳情表簽發告慰函,其中包含對相關對手方的債務詳情的獨立自主確認。 申報會計師向上市申請人董事發出的報告屬於私密函件,不納入招股章程,亦不在其中提 述。

營運資金充足性聲明

上市規則要求上市申請人的董事在招股章程中聲明,根據其意見,申請人的營運資金足以 應付招股章程刊發之日起至少12個月的集團資金需求;如果無法應付,則其建議如何提供 董事認為必要的額外營運資金。 為了作出該聲明,並向保薦人證明公司已經通過適當的流程,董事通常會編製詳細的 營運資金預測備忘錄,其中包括集團對該期間的現金流預測(通常按月),以及關鍵假設 與敏感因素。該備忘錄隨後在發出招股章程之前由申請人的董事會批准。 為協助董事,公司通常會延聘申報會計師審閱上市申請人編製的現金流量預測。申報 會計師將審閱董事採納的假設,將預測中的現金流量與上市集團可運用的設施及資源進行 比較,並核查預測是否計算準確。申報會計師將發出告慰函,陳述他們是否認為董事經過 妥善及仔細的查詢後才作出營運資金聲明。 作為審查流程的一部分,《上市規則》還規定保薦人須以書面方式向港交所確認其信 納董事關於營運資金充足性的意見是經過妥善及仔細的查詢後作出。因此,保薦人還必須 密切參與瞭解現金流預測的編製基礎,以及董事的內部保證流程。

關於其他事宜的告慰函

作為盡職調查程序的一部分,保薦人會要求公司申報會計師就出現於會計師報告之外的登 記聲明中的資料出具相關告慰函。保薦人常常會要求對儘量多的資料提供釋疑。針對投資 通告報告的相關香港核數準則,允許申報會計師就須遵守公司財務報告內控機制的會計紀 錄所衍生的資料提供釋疑。一般來講,保薦人謀求釋疑的資料越多,流程便會變得花費越 大。有鑒於此,並為避免種種誤解及無謂的延遲,公司、申報會計師及保薦人必須在草擬 過程的較早階段,便商定申報會計師須予釋疑的資料。保薦人須負責確定適宜採用什麼類 別的程序,而申報會計師執行的工作並不解除上市規則規定的保薦人責任。申報會計師將

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通過不向公眾公開的私密函件向公司和保薦人出具報告。

遞交港交所的其他財務資料

作為上市申請流程的一部分,港交所要求上市申請人向港交所遞交額外附表,以協助其審 批申請。這些額外資料並不納入招股章程,而需要遞交的某些文件,可能不屬於申請人定 期編製或審閱的資料。屬於首批文件遞交給港交所的資料包括:最大的五家客戶及供應商 的詳情; 應收及應付賬款的賬齡分析,包括後續結算詳情;存貨的陳化損耗和使用情況。 發行人要編製這些方面的資料往往會遭遇困難和費時。申報會計師無須就上述附表提供任 何釋疑,但可能會被要求就該等資料的形式和內容提出意見。

業務轉型

完成IPO流程並非從此一勞永逸,而僅僅只是個開始。上市之後,公司將受到遠比以前更 嚴密的公眾監察,並須遵守一系列持續義務。系統的任何缺陷或未能遵守規例,都可能令 管理層在公眾當中陷入尷尬境地,造成聲譽受損,公司及個人甚至可能被處罰款。IPO的 第一年,公司便可實現謹慎籌備及規劃的好處。 公眾公司必須遵守許多的申報及其他規定。對許多公司而言,最顯著的變化是必須加 速披露及公開報告自身的財務業績,並遵守企業管治要求,符合市場預期。公司必須做好 充分準備,以遵循這一程序要求;無法滿足上述要求,便會動搖投資者的信心,或者導致 公司被取消上市資格。在整個IPO流程中,公司必須做好準備,討論自身IPO準備性的計 劃,並且必須確保自身可以遵循上述要求。 這個準備過程往往較為漫長,視乎公司現有流程的目前成熟度。至關重要的是,公司 必須在上市前瞭解和應對各種差距。所需改進的程度將決定需要投入的資源量。許多公司 在上市過程中受到資源掣肘,而在此過程中,許多注意力都投放在初期遞交的文件及營銷 工作方面。

組成具策略性的董事會

在任何公開發售中,領導團隊的質素都是關鍵因素。必須確保董事會及管理層具備合適的 經驗與技能融配,以建立最優質企業管治結構,確保董事會的下屬委員會有效運作。為贏 得投資群眾的信賴,企業必須擁有經驗豐富的領導層,以團隊方式良好運作。管理層如持 有公司股份,這可向投資者表明,公司未來事關其切身利益。要實現成功的IPO,管理層 必須堅持投放時間和精力以符合註冊規定,召開與分析師及其他投資者見面的會議,並及 時提供香港《上市規則》及股東要求的財務資料。管理層還必須做好準備,在招股之前便 提升公司的管理控制及財務報告系統,以確保遵守全面披露規定及較短的財務報告期限, 而兩者都是IPO之後維繫信賴及投資者信心的必要條件。 公司在為IPO做準備的同時,還必須拓展其管理職能。投資界希望肯定經營公司的管 理層不是「一腳踢」。這可能需要增聘在營銷、營運、發展及財務領域方面具有公眾公司 經驗的人員。許多公司還希望聘用先前曾經歷過IPO流程的財務總監。管理團隊必須具有 凝聚力,擁有共同的長期願景,公司才能實現最大的財務回報及估值。

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獨立或外部董事可能是客觀意見的最佳來源之一。香港《企業管治守則》要求上市公 司至少擁有三名獨立非執行董事,他們還必須佔董事會成員至少三分之一。公司不應等到 最後時刻才著手搜尋合資格的外來董事會成員。潛在的董事會成員若不熟悉公司狀況,亦 可能不願在即將進行IPO之前加入董事會,因為董事對發售文件中包含或遺漏的資料負有 責任。公司的保薦人、申報會計師及律師往往可以協助上市申請人與潛在人選聯繫起來, 以填補某些技能缺口。

評估內部控制

作為上市申請流程的一部分,保薦人必須(作為其向港交所作出的聲明的一部分)確認自 身合理相信申請人已經設立相關程序、系統及控制措施(包括會計及管理系統),可充分 讓公司及其董事履行《上市規則》及其他相關法律和監管要求的義務。該等程序、系統及 控制措施應當使得公司的董事能夠在上市前後對公司和相關公司集團的財務狀況及前景作 出適當的評估。保薦人還必須確認,委任的公司董事應當整體具備相關經驗、資格及能 力,以管理公司的業務,並遵守《上市規則》。就個人而言,董事亦應當具備相關經驗、 資格及能力,以履行各自的角色,包括瞭解外界對其抱有什麼期望,以及他們在《上市規 則》及其他有關其職能的法律或監管規定下,他們對作為發行人的公司所負的責任。 港交所已經發佈《第21項應用指引》(PN21),向保薦人闡明上市申請過程中應當 執行的盡職調查程序。在市場實務中,保薦人通常會延聘第三方專業人員協助盡職調查流 程,尤其是評估企業管治及內部控制系統。因此作為上市流程的一部分,上市申請人很可 能因應保薦人請求,要求內部控制顧問對集團的企業管治及財務報告內控機制進行檢討, 通常會涉及下列領域: • 控制環境 • 風險評估 • 資料及傳訊 • 監控 • 控制活動 該流程通常會識別出IPO完成前需要矯正的若干領域。因此,建議上市申請人在此過 程中及早與保薦人協作,確保有充足的時間應對任何問題。

符合報告規定 績效的內部監控

在整個IPO過程中,保薦人將索要財務預測資料,並會將公司的過往業績與其以往的預算 相比較,其目的還在於審閱申請人的盈利及營運資金預測備忘錄。因此,公司應當設立財 務規劃及分析團隊,後者應當設置預算及預測流程。公司應當養成編製切實預算並不斷更 新預測的習慣,並且能夠闡明為何出現變異。對於早期的公司,對未來的設想及市場份額 是最重要的績效衡量指標。公司上市後,預算及未來設想將成為研究分析師的重要工具。

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第三章 財務資料規定及業務轉型

此外,這些資料及公眾公司能否實現自身的收益估計和市場評論人士的收益估計,會對其 股價表現產生重大影響。因此,準確的預算及預測對IPO是否能成功進行至關重要,因為 市場對這方面的錯誤容忍度極低,但凡表現顯著不盡人意,便會拖累股價。 績效的定期外部報告 香港《上市規則》要求公眾公司定期提交某些資料,以確保投資公眾知情。正如先前指 出,做好準備符合這些要求應當成為公司的關注焦點,有如經過IPO的流程一般。公司應 當一開始便與律師及會計師討論各項規例對其規定的義務,以明確相關義務,並確保能加 以履行。金融公關公司可以協助公司向股東提供年度報告。下表概述了對主板上市的公眾 公司的基本報告規定: 報告 年度業績公告

要求 時間 • 基於財務報表,並與核數師商定 年度結束日起三個月內 • 主要財務報表及重要附注

年度財務報告

• 業務檢討 • 根據HKFRS/IFRS編製的經審計

年度結束日起四個月內

財務報表 • 管理層報告 • 適當的董事保證聲明 • 審計報告 半年度報告

• 企業管治報告 • 根據HKFRS/IFRS編製的一套簡 明財務報表 • 業務檢討

業績公布為半年度結束日起兩 個月內;報告為半年度結束日 起三個月內

• 適當的董事保證聲明 • 核數師的中期檢討(非強制) 及時披露內幕消息 公眾公司應當儘快披露所有內幕消息,無論該等資料對公司是否有利。一般視為重要的資 料包括:重大財務交易;新產品或服務;收購或處置資產;股息變更;最高管理層或控制 權變動。一旦該等資料是合理準確,並且公司可獲取完整詳情之時便應儘早加以披露。這 些資料通常以新聞公告形式公佈。一般而言,應當與公司的法律顧問商討是否有必要披露 資料。

有效企業管治及內部控制的關鍵元素

鑒於機構投資者及投資公眾非常關心企業管治事宜,公司在規劃公開招股流程時,必須密 切注意自身的企業管治原則和常規。《企業管治守則》(《守則》)及《企業管治報告》 (CGR)中訂明香港上市公司的企業管治框架,並收納為主板《上市規則》附錄14,而附錄 14亦訂明提供給股東的企業管治年度報告必要內容。

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主板《上市規則》第三章亦要求董事會應當包括至少三分之一的獨立董事,以及成立 審計及薪酬委員會。《守則》列明若干「原則」,隨後是守則條文及建議的最佳常規。我 們必須認識到,守則條文及建議的最佳常規並非強制性規則。港交所無意採取「一刀切」 的做法。如果發行人認為可通過更適宜的途徑遵守原則,便允許偏離守則條文。因此相比 《上市規則》,《守則》容許的靈活度較大。由此看來,要詳細規定所有發行人必須如此 行事以實現良好的企業管治,乃是不切實際的想法。 《守則》第C.2條列明港交所對內部控制的觀點。董事應當至少每年對發行人及其附 屬機構內部控制系統的有效性進行檢討,並在《企業管治報告》中告知股東他們已經實施 這項工作。該檢討應當涵蓋所有重大控制機制,包括財務、營運和合規控制及風險管理職 能。為了在內部控制方面遵循《守則》,上市公司的董事會應當: 1) 評估公司如何運用這項《守則》原則; 2) 實施《守則》條文的要求;以及 3) 在《企業管治報告》中就上述事宜向股東作出報告 。

IPO的準備性評估

進行結構性操作以分析公司上市的準備狀態,可以令管理層充分瞭解適用於公司的關鍵 IPO事項。評估流程讓公司可以在較早階段識別並解決問題,從而節省時間和資金。預先 規劃有助於最大程度減少潛在負面意外事件的影響,並讓公司做好準備,從各種正面的市 場動向中獲益。根據我們的經驗,企業若進行了完整的IPO前準備性的操作,便能處於最 佳準備狀態,以應對IPO 交易的各種複雜情形。適度的準備亦有助於公司根據招股的策略 目標、特定業務事項,以及需要執行的實際工作來確立時間表。這樣的評估提供合理的基 礎,以便與持份者開展時間安排方面的討論。下表列示評估IPO 準備性的初步框架: 評估 IPO 準備

私人擁有

中間階段

IPO 就緒

上市資格

未知

已評估

符合

股權狀況

經營者中心

已發展

一貫、穩健

財務歷史

獨立帳目

IFRS/HKFRS 合併帳目

IFRS/HKFRS 3年紀錄

企業架構

遺留業務

合理化

有效的稅務與法律架構

預測

高層次計劃

權責發生制預測

可靠的營運資金預測

稅項

未評估風險

已評估風險

緩解與披露策略

專業管理

管治程序

IFRS/HKFRS 報告

年度及中期報告

部分資料

可提供完整資料

性的框架

企業管治、財務 經營者自律 控制及風險管理 財務報告

僅呈交法定資料

盡職調查準備性 未評估

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第三章 財務資料規定及業務轉型

典型的 IPO準備性評估將涉及下列問題: - 成為公眾公司究竟意味著什麼? - 完成IPO需要多長時間? - 我們是否擁有合適的資源? - 員工是否準備就緒? - 我們是否有動聽的內容向潛在投資者講述? - 闡明本公司策略的最佳途徑是什麼? - 我們需要應對哪些企業管治問題? - 董事會應當設置多少獨立董事? - 同時將股份發售給美國的成熟投資者(通過《1933年美國證券法》規則 144A)會有什 麼影響? - 與行業中的其他公司相比,我們的會計政策如何? - 財務職能部門是否準備就緒? - 公司的營運業務是否得到有效的經營和管理? - 作為公眾公司,我們需要作出哪些額外披露? - 如果我們的其中一家附屬公司有經修訂審計意見,這是否會成為問題? - 我們是否需要重新列報業績,以反映近期收購與處置項目? - IPO會對我們原有的激勵安排產生什麼影響?

聯繫我們 羅兵咸永道會計師事務所 香港中環太子大廈22樓 網址: www.pwchk.com 鄧衛國 資本市場服務組總監 電話: +852 2289 1886 電郵: geoffrey.tang@hk.pwc.com

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第四章 與投資銀行設計交易

籌力。除可帶來不少財務回報外,首次公開招股更可帶領公司邁向企業發展的關鍵階 備首次公開招股,一般需要發行人的高級管理層團隊及其股東經年累月的辛勤努

段。 但是,籌備過程的經歷同時亦會令人沮喪卻步。首次公開招股涉及不同的合作伙伴; 行政人員面對各式各樣的要求;應付緊湊的時間錶;以及面對愈趨反復波動的市況。 透過披露以及遵循證券交易規定(上市時及其後的持續責任),上市亦會提高公司的 問責程度。 本章節會探討首次公開招股的基本發售結構。作者將分析交易的主要組成部份及委任 投資銀行的程序,以協助發行人完成這項工作。作者亦將集中討論一些熱門課題,包括基 礎投資者,香港交易所(下稱「港交所」)日趨國際化,以及在這些充滿挑戰的市場中成 功進行首次公開招股應怎樣做。

基本發售結構

大部份首次公開招股一般會發售予本地及國際投資者,以及散戶和機構投資者。 即使是全球發售,有關發售亦會分為多個「部份」,各部份針對特定的投資者組別。 一般而言,這包括全球機構發售(或配售),以及向公眾(散戶)投資者公開發售。 亞洲的較小型首次公開招股一般僅於地區發售,公開招股的規模愈大,參與的國際投 資者亦會按比例增加。 就相對大型的交易而言(即1億美元的倍數或等值),除本地機構投資者及其它國家的 機構外,亦可根據《美國證券法》第144A條通過私人配售發售予美國的在岸「合資格機構 性買方」。 在香港,散戶發售的相對規模一般占全球發售的10%,但對於成功的交易而言亦可增 至最多50%,原因是回補機制觸發點會視乎有關部份獲認購的數量而自動分配更多股份予 公眾人士。 散戶發售的主要目的是為後市提供流動性,以及符合有關最低投資者數目(香港為 300)的上市要求。

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就市場推廣而言,對發售結構的不同部份,包銷安排亦有所不同。散戶發售的包銷會 在股份向公眾發售前進行,而機構發售的包銷於收集認購指示(或累計投標)過程(按價 格範圍進行)完結後進行。 此外,就包銷而言,一般會將全球機構發售分拆為按《美國證券法》第144A條的部份 及非美國(或按規例S)部份。最後,本地機構發售一般會獲包銷,作為非美國(或按規 例S)的部份,並獨立於散戶發售。

首次公開招股的組成部份 成立公司的司法管轄區

在香港,發行人可以成立公司的司法管轄區有很多限制。除香港本身外,一直只限於在中 國內地、開曼群島和百慕達等地區成立。但截至本文撰寫之時,港交所過去數年已認許了 額外20個司法管轄區。它們大部份位於美國和歐洲,但交易所目前亦歡迎來自澳洲、日本 或南韓等地區的發行人。 八個國際發行人在香港已進行首次公開招股,還有多個發行人以介紹方式上市,即沒 有向投資者發行或出售股份,並通過它們在其它交易所已進行一次或多次上市之外進行第 二上市。對於這一類的發行人,最重要是能突顯與大中華有緊密連系。 盡職審查草擬招股章程 任何首次公開招股必定是始於一個啓動會議,在會議上,於交易開始時已獲委任的各方人 士將互相介紹認識。除發行人外,這些人士至少包括牽頭銀行,發行人及包銷商團各自的 法律顧問,以及審計師。 其後,通常會展開一連串盡職審查會議,程序涵蓋商業、法律及財務各方面,透過有 關過程,各方可深入瞭解公司的情況,此舉目的有二。 首先,是要確定有關業務並無任何不妥之處,而公司及其管理層適宜面對公眾擁有 權。第二,是要對業務有一定程度的瞭解,從而草擬詳盡的招股章程(或發售通函),有 效概述市場就投資於有關公司而作出知情決定所需的資料,以遵守證券交易所的規定,並 於上市前呈交證券交易所草擬和審閱。 對於較小型的交易,牽頭投資銀行有時會代錶公司草擬招股章程。對於較大型的交 易,草擬招股章程通常會由發行人的法律顧問負責。然而,在所有情況下,發行人就文件 內容須承擔責任。 有關盡職審查及草擬招股章程的過程可能需時多月,視乎公司自其管理信息系統摘錄 相關信息的能力,以及高級員工能否就此而長時間工作而定,並且很大程度上亦要視乎財 務數據能否易於取得。在進行重大收購或出售時,亦需要編制備考賬目,進一步影響有關 時間錶。 有關數據亦須是最近期的數據,不僅要遵守交易所的上市規定,審計師亦要就發售通 函所載的財務數據給予保證,否則可能需對賬目作出進一步審閱。 招股章程將近完成時,便會提交予相關交易所審閱。

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基礎投資者和主要投資者 首次公開招股(特別是大型的首次公開招股)會委任基礎投資者日趨普遍。 基礎投資者以發售價(而不會以折扣)購入股份,但另一方面他們得到保證股份分 配。在香港,他們的名字和股份分配會在招股章程中披露,而且他們必須同意為期六個月 的股份禁售期,換句話說,他們須遵守本身在首次公開招股中獲分配股份的禁售期。 相反,主要投資者的名字不須向外披露,但可提早在賬冊給予認購指示,而且在分配 股份時受到優待。他們亦不須同意禁售股份。 在這兩種情況下,他們的介入對於在艱難的市況下進行大宗交易變得舉足輕重。這是 因為造勢的關鍵在於讓包銷商能夠於累計投標首日宣佈賬冊已滿。如果基礎投資者在交易 中占了百分之三十至百分之六十以上,有很大比例的余額亦分配給主要投資者,這顯然容 易得多了。 基礎投資者和主要投資者要攜手合作需花一點時間。因此,在大部分情況下,要結合 這些投資者在新股推出前耗時多月,與管理層會面,進行實地視察,並以保密形式寄出一 份或以上的招股章程草稿。 審閱招股章程 在香港,招股章程的審閱平均需要10至12個星期。證券交易所可能會要求作出澄清或要求 增加披露。審閱過程會於上市聆訊結束,而發行人會在上市聆訊中獲批准進行有關交易。 向研究分析員進行簡報、交易前研究及投資者教育 於上市聆訊前,管理層將須向組成包銷商團的各家銀行的研究分析員進行簡報。 簡報一般需時多個小時,其目的是使分析員可草擬詳細的報告,以發送予機構投資 者。報告內容與招股章程內業務一節的內容大致相同,但作為市場推廣(而非法定或披 露)文件,其版面設計則較「易於使用」。 然而,研究報告並不會發給散戶投資者,因此散戶投資者只可倚賴發售通函作投資決 定。因當地證券規例所限,有關研究亦不會發送給位於美國、加拿大及日本等司法管轄區 的投資者。 「交易前」研究報告刊發後,研究分析員會於管理層進行路演的同時,環游列國與不 同機構會晤,為取得實際認購指示(或累計投標)的過程作好准備 。 這種交易前的投資者教育(或PDIE,有時亦稱為上市前推介)過程有多個目的。一、 透過向市場傳達有關投資個案的核心主題和研究分析員對估值的意見,可取得市場的反 應,從而令牽頭銀行及發行人可釐定累計投標的價格幅度,用作向投資者收取認購指示。 二、有關過程容許在管理層展開實際路演前作出若干調整或應對投資者不斷查詢的問 題,有助有效「推銷」交易。 累計投標及管理層路演 一旦釐定價格幅度,投資者可按需求賬簿內的價格(以價格的最高範圍為限)開始作出認 購指示。同時,管理層將在全球各地展開一連串「路演」,增強營銷力度。路演包括多個

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舞台式的大型活動,以及與較大型投資者進行小組及個別(或一對一)的機構會議。這個 過程完結時(或就若干情況而言,如上文所述,於其後),便會開始進行散戶投資者發 售。 定價、分配、上市、開始買賣及穩定價格 需求賬簿一旦完成,銀行、發行人及其股東一般會就釐定最終發售價展開冗長的討論。最 終發售價不但會反映首次公開招股的超額認購水平,更會反映作出認購指示的機構的更主 觀情況。首次公開招股的定價是一門藝術多於科學。如果由低質素的投資者進行認購,認 購反應理想的交易實際上可能會在後市降低價格。 釐定發售價後,接著會通宵進行詳盡的機構性分配,以確保該等投資者不僅可取得一 定數量的股份,鼓勵他們在後市增持,而且核心的主要股份持有人也可在交易中受惠,並 繼續於公司投資一段較長時間。 另一方面,基於實際需要,散戶投資者會更為機械地通過抽簽方式獲分配股份。 其後,公司便會正式上市,股份開始於交易所買賣。在買賣的首個月,有時須採取穩 定股價措施,以紓緩短期賣家和買家於實時後市可能會造成的失衡情況,這過程稱為超額 配股權。

委任投資銀行

就較小型的交易而言,一般無須委任多於一家投資銀行。 然而,就較大型的交易而言,首次公開招股的銀團架構可能涉及不同界別。因此,有 關委任需反映各公司能互補長短,包括擁有強大的全球或地區聯繫的經紀,及可向機構和 散戶投資者分銷有價證券的其它人士。 一般最理想的方法是透過競投甄選,為各經紀創造競爭環境,並與發行人及任何銷售 股東進行磋商,爭取最可行的條件。一名獨立顧問可協助作出此等安排。 賬簿管理人 賬簿管理人銀行才是至關重要的。現時,一般會委任幾家銀行共同履行有關職責。 如下文所述,聯席賬簿管理人一般還會肩負其它工作。 公司須委任賬簿管理人帶領進行發售結構內的各個部份,即至少是全球機構發售及散 戶提呈發售。 賬簿管理人十分重要,因為他們向機構投資者推廣證券時需負責大量的銷售工作。就 這角色而言,出色的股票銷售及研究能力是不可或缺的條件。 因此,賬簿管理人可能會安排管理層與獨立的大型機構投資者於路演時進行所有(或 幾乎所有)一對一會議,並瞭解各機構就幾近全部實際認購指示的需求賬簿。他們亦負責 就向獨立機構投資者的股份分配向管理層及股東提出建議。 公司亦須於較後期委任其中一名賬簿管理人,於有需要時穩定買賣最初幾日或幾星期 的股價。

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全球協調人 賬簿管理人一般亦獲委任為首次公開招股的全球協調人。然而,務請註意,並非所有賬簿 管理人均需獲委任出任有關職位,反之則不然,鮮有聽聞全球協調人會不獲委任為賬簿管 理人。 有關委任大抵證明該公司的「聲望」,可讓有關公司的名稱在發售通函封面及將於財 經媒體刊發的證券發行通告上置於其它公司之上。此外,若全球協調人的包銷金額及酬金 較高,也可反映其地位較高,包括可從應付賬簿管理人的費用組合中剝離費用(或包銷經 辦費)。他們一般將協助架構整個交易,相對而言,賬簿管理人更常在市場推廣階段介 入。 於近期多項交易中,發行人一開始便委任賬簿管理人,並在快將進行提呈發售時才委 任全球協調人,以獎勵在交易的整個企業融資執行階段中特別盡力(或辛勤工作)的有關 公司,以及在盡力挑選及委任基礎投資者的過程中出一分力的公司。 這個策略相當有意思,可於優先銀行之間製造其它競爭元素。然而,在此情況下,於 開始時委任賬簿管理人的數目必須維持在可管理的水平,以免發生太多人負責草擬文件及 參與執行會議,造成低效率的情況,亦因高級銀團過大而打擊各公司的士氣。 另外,鑒於市場環境日趨惡化,通常擔任基礎投資者的投資者變得愈來愈吹毛求疵, 因此,最重要是在整個流程中維持出色的協調工作,以確保向市場發放連貫的信息。在過 多的公司中加入競爭元素可能會對交易、發行人和售股股東造成不利。 保薦銀行 公司亦需委任一家或多家公司為保薦銀行,其職責主要是聯絡交易所,以協助發行人商討 招股章程的內容。保薦銀行主要負責文件處理及協調工作。 於盡職審查及文件處理開始前便需要決定有關委任。 此外,保薦銀行的職責通常與全球協調人及(可能僅就部分銀行而言)賬簿管理人的 職責重迭。對於大型發售,不會因有關職位而向所委任銀行支付個別酬金,但較小型的交 易或會收取文件處理費。 其它包銷商角色 所有賬簿管理人銀行亦被委任為聯席牽頭經辦人。反過來,公司可以委任並非同為賬簿管 理人的聯席牽頭經辦人。 請註意,在此情況下,這些聯席牽頭經辦人在銷售過程取得好錶現的能力可能會大受 影響,原因是他們對機構投資者的需求不會有控制權,無法就投資者分配作出推薦建議, 因此他們的包銷及酬金可能會相當低。 在此情況下,除了他們可能獲授較高的包銷額及可分占更高費用外,聯席牽頭經辦人 的責任與較初級的副牽頭經辦人相似。 因此,在交易較後階段前還不需要委任(即向研究分析員作出介紹的時間左右)這類 包銷商。 通常,獲委任擔任這些角色的銀行(也許屬安慰獎性質)均是初步或最終入選為賬簿

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第四章 與投資銀行設計交易

管理人但最終不獲委任的公司。但請註意,部分全球公司有不擔任股本市場交易中較低級 工作的政策。 公司可在這級(現今屬罕見)以下委任副經辦人,通常僅僅是為了關係而已。這些銀 行只作象徵式的包銷,但預料不會發錶交易前研究或耗時進行研究分析。

首次公開招股費用

在亞洲和香港,就首次公開招股支付包銷商的費用通常介乎 1.50% 至 3.50%。各公司分配 費用的方法通常是由發行人及其首次公開招股前的股東於開始時釐定,但實際股份分配仍 明顯具競爭性。此外,費用含獎勵成分亦日趨普遍,該獎金乃由發行人按產生的可分配需 求比例及/或以酌情金額支付(或不支付)予銀行,以獎勵所有或部分執行首次公開招股 的銀行的錶現。

造就成功交易需要甚麼

首次公開招股的市場條件在全球遇到的睏難日增,當中包括亞洲和香港在內。在這些市場 中,發行人需要在發售規模和估值方面實事求是。在交易初期得到知名的大型機構投資者 組成核心團隊「支持」-不論是正式成為基礎投資者,還是較一般地成為主要投資者-在 許多情況下亦成為一項先決條件。 這需要投放大量時間和精力,最重要是促成各資深公司之間的合作。獨立顧問有助達 成這一目標,儘管他們需要確保其角色促進銀團資深成員之間的合作,並與銀行的工作產 生互惠互利的效果,而非重復銀行的工作。 在首次公開招股啓動前,未能取得支持的交易,規模過小(或過大)的交易,或是未 能顯示這是一項具吸引力的投資項目,在當今的買家市場中通常都不大可能會取得成功或 錶現理想。

結論

首次公開招股過程有時可能頗為技術性,並涉及管理團隊並不熟識的規則及術語,而投資 銀行會協助發行人應對市場中存在的未知之數。 與此同時,擁有相當的常識、能夠顧全大局也是相當重要的。出色的投資個案背後很 少滲雜複雜的情節,而瞭解投資者在重大而主要的股票管道中選擇股票的需要和限制才是 不可或缺的。 銀行在這方面擔當關鍵角色。委任時作出正確選擇,對交易結果亦可造成重大影響。

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關於作者 Philippe Espinasse具備逾19年擔任高級企業融資及資本市場專業人員的經驗,包括在華寶 銀行(現稱瑞銀集團)、麥格理及野村證券分別出任董事總經理、資本企業融資主管及股 本市場主管。 在他的投資銀行事業生涯中,他成功促成了超過140宗企業融資交易,包括多宗數以十億 元計的私有化計劃及私營企業的首次公開招股。 他在各行各業以及近30個司法權區向發行人進行發售推廣或執行股票市場發行。 Philippe現居於香港,以獨立顧問身份從事寫作及工作。他曾撰寫《首次公開招股:全 球指南》(IPO: A Global Guide),由香港大學出版社於2011年4月出版(該書亦有簡體 版)。Philippe為Dow Jones Banking Intelligence,《南華早報》及France ’s L ’Agefi等 定期專欄供稿。他的文章亦散見於《華爾街日報》、WSJ.com網站、BBC新聞網站以及 其它刊物。他經常在財經媒體,以及電視(BBC News、Bloomberg TV、CNBC)和電台 (ABC Radio、BBC World Service、香港電台第三台)的財經節目,以評論員身份就首次 公開招股作出評論。 讀者可透過Philippe的網站 (http://www.ipo-book.com)與他聯繫,其網站亦設有網志,內 容關於全球首次公開招股。

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第五章 准備首次公開招股-具體上市事宜

第五章 准備首次公開招股-具體上市事宜 計司上市過程就會越有效率、所花的錢也會越少。因此,擬發行人在首次公開招股初 劃、執行、管理首次公開招股可以是一項充滿挑戰的任務。籌備工作做得越好,公

期預先識別有關事宜並將之解決是至關重要的。 根據上市的特定環境、公司的性質和行業,其間可能會出現很多事宜和挑戰。本章討 論擬發行人可能遇到的一些具體上市事宜。尤其是,隨著內地企業在香港股票市場的地位 日漸重要,本章特別提出這些企業在香港上市時常會遇到的一些問題。

1. 中國企業上市-紅籌還是H股?

在香港聯合交易所(聯交所)上市的中華人民共和國(中國)企業包括「H股公司」和 「紅籌公司」。H股公司是在中國註冊成立的股份有限公司,並獲中國證券監督管理委員 會(中國證監會)批准在香港上市;而紅籌公司則指在中國境外(通常在香港、開曼群島 或百慕達)註冊成立的公司,但大部分業務都在中國,且通常由中國實體控制。中國企業 上市通常較其他在香港上市的項目複雜,原因是重組和上市程序可能需要取得相關中國機 關的批准。 在2007年首次公開招股最興旺的時期,有廣泛報道指中國證監會採納了一項非官方政 策:只批准籌資額超過10億美元或願意在中港兩地上市的公司進行H股上市。因此,過去 幾年常見有大型中國企業在上海和香港證券交易所進行「A + H兩地上市」。規模較小的 中國企業,通常通過紅籌上市方式在香港上市。 過去,中國有關紅籌公司重組和上市的監管程序比H股發行人的簡單。儘管如此,在 2006年8月《關於外國投資者並購境內企業的規定》(一般稱為「10號文」或「並購規 定」)出台後,紅籌公司上市程序已變得越來越複雜。 10號文由商務部、國有資產監督管理委員會、國家稅務總局、國家工商行政管理總局 (國家工商總局)、中國證監會、國家外匯管理局(外匯局)於2006年8月8日頒布,於 2006年9月8日生效及於2009年6月22日經商務部修訂。根據10號文,紅籌企業須在上市的 幾個階段中取得商務部的批准,包括: - 就中國境內企業權益於境外上市而言,中國境內企業在中國境外設立特殊目的公司1; 和 - 特殊目的公司收購中國境內企業的業務或資產2。 1

10號文第42條 10號文第11條

2

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香港首次公開招股指南2013

此外,10號文恢復紅籌上市計劃須經中國證監會批准的規定3(有關規定過往曾於2003 年取締中國證監會出具不反對函的做法時刪除)。再者,根據10號文的框架,境外成功上 市的公司必須於預定時限內將所得款項調回中國。即使企業取得上市批准,如未能於獲批 准後12個月內完成境外上市,有關企業將恢復到原來持股結構4。 市場最初預期,10號文的嚴格規定和限制將會抑制中國企業(紅籌結構於10號文實施 之前(即2006年9月8日)並未完善者)在境外上市。然而,過去幾年,我們已見證到不同 中國企業採納的多項巧妙重組計劃,避免10號文在香港上市中適用:例如,所謂的「慢步 走」或「期權」安排以及可變利益實體結構。儘管這些方法並非免於監管風險,但預期有 關紅籌上市的交易結構將會繼續發展和完善。 於2012年,紅籌上市的模式有了突破創新,一家中國國內企業通過轉為中外合資企 業、再轉為外資企業,於2012年成功在香港上市。5由於這家企業是在2010年,即10號文 的實施日期之後,才開始紅籌架構的搭建,因此它的成功上市,被喻為使10號文淪為紙老 虎。6自此,中國企業可以更自由地在香港上市。 自2005年以來,中國國家外匯管理局(外匯局)已就特殊目的公司返程投資發出一系 列通函,指示若干類別的返程投資須向外匯局登記。由於這些通函會影響紅籌重組的可行 性和時間錶,因此擬發行人不應忽略這些通函,並應就紅籌上市計劃尋求專業意見。

2. 深入研究可變利益實體結構的可行性

可變利益實體結構一直是外資間接投資於中國限制或禁止外國直接投資的行業的方法。此 外,可變利益實體結構被採納以讓處於外國直接投資受限制或被禁止的行業的中國企業能 夠在境外上市。2000年,新浪網通過採納可變利益實體結構,成功將其增值電信業務於 納斯達克上市,創造了「新浪結構」。此後,可變利益實體結構在其他行業復制,例如出 版、廣播、媒體、煤礦以及互聯網業務。 基本上,可變利益實體結構指全部或部分在中國成立的外資擁有實體對中國境內企業 (持有在外國直接投資受到限制/被禁止的行業運營的必要許可)有控制權的結構。通過 多項合同安排,對中國國內企業的運營和管理的實際控制權以及經濟利益轉移至外資實 體。過去,紅籌股上市採納可變利益實體結構,10號文被相關發行人闡釋為不適用,原因 是並無涉及收購相關中國境內企業。 然而,由於可變利益實體結構並無經中國機關明確認可,因此可變利益實體結構的合 法性存在疑問。在2011年第三季,有廣泛報道指中國機關可能強行限制這些有爭議但常見 的企業結構7,並可能就此制定新法。此後,可變利益實體結構能否在香港上市就出現不明 朗因素。 3

5 6 7 4

10號文第40條 10號文第49條 中國中盛資源控股有限公司(股份代號:2623) 《公司金融》雜誌2012年9月號文章〈中盛資源控股「紅籌」新路徑〉 Stephen Aldred和Don Durfee,“Exclusive: China company structure under threat”,(2011年9 月18日,香港/北京路透社)

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第五章 准備首次公開招股-具體上市事宜

現在,經過兩家採用可變利益實體結構的企業於2012年成功在香港上市後,以上不明 朗因素便一掃而空了。8香港聯交所亦刊發了兩項上市決策,說明可變利益實體結構的上市 申請,將繼續就每一個別情況而獲審批,但招股說明書必須披露可變利益實體結構的相關 詳情和所涉風險。9採用可變利益實體結構的擬發行人,如決定在中國法例可能出現變動之 前趕緊進行其上市計劃,應註意監管發展,並尋求適切的法律意見。

3. 礦業公司和基建項目-特別上市資格和要求

由於勘探和開採天然資源及基建項目本質上屬於資本密集型業務,因此越來越多礦業公司 和基建公司上市。基於其獨有特徵,有關公司在香港上市須符合特別上市資格和要求。 「礦業公司」包括主要業務(占總資產、收入或運營開支25%或以上)涉及勘探及╱ 或開採礦物或石油(包括任何形態的碳氫化合物)的公司10。若礦業公司未能符合《香港 聯合交易所有限公司證券上市規則》(《上市規則》)第8.05條下任何財務測試,如董事 及高級管理人員擁有最少五年與該上市申請人進行的勘探及╱或開採活動相關的經驗,有 關公司仍可申請上市。11 此外,上市申請人如屬礦業公司須展示: - 該公司有權循下列其中一種途徑積極參與勘探及╱或開採礦物或石油:(i)通過在所投 資資產中占有超過50%(按價值計)控制權益,以及對相關資源的勘探及╱或開採占 有足夠權利;或(ii)通過根據安排所給予的足夠權利,給予申請人對勘探及╱或開採有 關資源的決定有足夠的影響力12; - 該公司至少有以下一項可按認可報告准則確認的組合:(i)「控制資源量」13(如屬礦 物);或(ii)「後備資源量」14(如屬石油),而有關組合已獲合資格人士報告證實; 且此組合必須為有意義的組合,並具有足夠實質,以證明上市具備充分理由15;和 - 該公司目前的營運資金足以應付預計未來至少12個月的現有需要的125%16。 礦業公司亦須遵守額外招股說明書披露要求。尤其是,該公司如尚未投產,則必須披 露其進行投產的計劃,包括暫定日期及成本。有關計劃必須有最少一份概括研究支持,並 8

品牌中國集團有限公司(股份代號:8219)及匯聯金融服務控股有限公司(股份代號:8030) 2012年7月刊發的上市決策(HKEx-LD33-2012),及2005年第一季刊發、並於2011年11月及2012 年8月更新的上市決策(HKEx-LD43-3) 10 《上市規則》第18.01(3)條 11 《上市規則》第18.04條 12 《上市規則》第18.03(1)條 13 「控制資源量」指礦產資源量中在噸位、體重、形狀、物理特徵、品位及礦物含量方面估算具有合 理可信度水平的部分(《上市規則》第18.01(3)條)。 14 「後備資源量」指在某指定日期通過開發項目估算在已知儲藏量中有潛力可採的石油藏量,但基於 一項或多項潛在因素,現時仍非屬商業可採(《上市規則》第18.01(3)條)。 15 《上市規則》第18.03(2)條 16 《上市規則》第18.03(4)條 9

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有合資格人士的意見為佐證。若仍未取得勘探或開採資源量及╱或儲量的權利,有關取得 該等權利的相關風險必須在顯眼位置披露17。 合資格人士報告和估值報告必須符合認可報告准則18,包括: - 就礦產資源量和儲量而言:《JORC規則》、《NI 43-101》和《SAMREC規則》; - 就石油資源量和儲量而言:《PRMS》;和 - 就估值而言:《CIMVAL》、《SAMVAL規則》和《VALMIN規則》。 如根據其他報告准則呈報信息,則須提供與所需的報告准則之間的差異對照。19 新成立的「工程項目」公司包括為興建主要的基礎設施(指建立基本有形架構或基礎 設施的工程,使一個地區或國家可藉以付運經濟發展所需的公需商品及服務)而成立的公 司。基建工程的例子包括道路、橋梁、隧道、鐵路、集體運輸系統、水道及污水系統、發 電廠、電訊網絡、港口及機場的建設20。 就新成立的「工程項目」公司的上市申請而言,如符合若干特定規定,聯交所可接納 為期較短的營業紀錄或修訂或豁免第8.05條所載的財務測試21,包括: - 該公司的唯一業務是直接或通過子公司或合營公司興建和運營基建項目授權或合同所 指定的特定基建項目; - 基建項目必須在政府授予的長期特許或授權下進行; - 在一般情況下,上市時特許或授權工程必須有至少15年的剩余期限; - 該公司在該等工程的總資本承擔當中,所占份額一般至少必須為10億港元; - 該公司的大部分項目正處於尚未施工或施工階段; - 大部分集資所得款額將用於資助工程建設,而並非用於償還債務或購置其他基建工程 以外的資產;和 - 其主要股東及管理層擁有所需具備的經驗、專業知識、營運紀錄以及財政實力,確保 能完成有關工程並使其投入運作。尤其是,其董事及管理層必須在新申請人所屬的業 務和行業內擁有足夠(至少三年)及令人滿意的經驗。

4. 首次公開招股前投資-須予遵守的原則和指引

私募股權和對衝基金不時會投資於非上市公司,以期在該公司最終首次公開招股時獲利套 現。由於存在首次公開招股可能不會成功的風險,因此這些投資者一般會獲給予大幅折

17

19 20 21 18

《上市規則》第18.07條 《上市規則》第18.24條 《上市規則》第18.29條附註 《上市規則》第8.05B(2)條 《上市規則》第8.05B(2)條

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第五章 准備首次公開招股-具體上市事宜

讓。然而,擬發行人應遵守《上市規則》第2.03(2)和(4)條的原則,當中規定證券的發行 和市場推廣應以公平及有序的形式進行,而上市證券的所有持有人應獲公平及平等對待。 此外,擬發行人亦應註意聯交所於2010年10月13日發布、並於2012年1月以指引信形 式重發的有關首次公開招股前投資的臨時指引(臨時指引)。臨時指引要求首次公開招股 前投資通常應在下列時間完成:(i)首次呈交的首次上市申請錶格日期前至少足28天;或 (ii)申請人的證券首日交易前足180天。若有關的資金已經交付而申請人已經收到並不可撤 回,首次公開招股前投資即被視為已完成。 聯交所過去曾以違反《上市規則》第2.03(2)及(4)條的原則為理由,拒絕某些首次公開 招股前投資。在其中兩個個案中,首次公開招股前投資的協議是在上市申請錶的提交日期 簽署,並在其後才以遠低於首次公開招股價的價格結算。聯交所認為,首次公開招股前的 投資者比首次公開招股階段的投資者獲得較優惠的條款,因此認為有關投資應予撤回,或 上市時間須押後,使首次公開招股前的投資者,面對相當不同於首次公開招股階段投資者 所面對的風險。22 聯交所於2012年10月公布的指引信(HKEx-GL43-12),列出了首次公開招股前投資中 常見的特別權利,及聯交所對這些特別權利是否可過渡到上市之後作出的指引。

5. 中國物業事宜

儘管中國物業市場和業權登記制度急速發展,但是很多與物業業權有關的歷史問題仍未解 決。由於相關土地使用權證及/或房屋所有權證(統稱業權證書)申請過程涉及不確定 性,因此擬發行人如有物業位於中國,可能對證明其於有關物業的擁有權面對睏難。 就此,聯交所於2010年7月刊發的指引信(GL19-10)中提供業權證書規定有用指引,當 中建議: - 就基建工程公司及物業公司而言,相關業權證書是上市批准的預先必要條件; - 就礦業和勘探公司而言,《上市規則》規定有關公司須取得積極參與勘探及開採資源 的足夠權利23。換言之,除非在例外情況下,否則業權證書通常是必須的; - 就基建工程公司及物業公司以外的公司而言,聯交所不再要求業權證書。取而代之, 此等上市申請人應在招股說明書中披露其欠缺業權證書對運營的風險。 此外,《上市規則》第12項應用指引規定,如土地使用權證尚待發出,則經適當批准 的書面土地出讓或土地轉讓合同,連同就該等批准的有效性而出具的中國法律意見書,可 被接納為受讓人將會取得獲出讓或轉讓土地的使有權的證據。

22

聯交所於2010年10月13日發出新聞稿,並於2012年1月以指引信(HKEx-GL29-12)形式重發 《上市規則》第18.03(1)條

23

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6. 控股股東和董事的利益衝突

一般而言,《上市規則》容許上市申請人董事和控股股東的競爭業務存在,前提是於招股 說明書中全面披露(就董事而言,亦須於上市後的年報披露)以下事宜24: - 將予上市的業務不包括競爭業務的理由; - 有關除外業務及其管理層的描述,包括業務的性質、範圍及規模,並闡明該業務如何 可能與將予上市的業務競爭; - 有關證明上市申請人能獨立於除外業務、基於各自利益來經營其業務的事實;和 - 控股股東任何擬將除外業務註入將予上市的公司的意向。 然而,於評估上市的合適性中,聯交所將檢討是否有足夠的安排管理有關公司與共同 控制下其他業務之間的利益衝突和業務划定。此外,聯交所亦將考慮有關在財務獨立性、 經營獨立性和管理獨立性方面上市申請人獨立於控股股東經營業務的因素。 25 就此而言,上市申請人的控股股東一般會與上市申請人訂立不競爭協議以劃分上市後 的業務和消除日後競爭。控股股東或須承諾日後會將業務機會介紹予上市申請人、控股股 東日後進行競爭業務前的批准程序,以及授出對現有或日後競爭業務的選擇權、優先認股 權或優先否決權。 在部分個案中,聯交所可能認為控股股東給予的不競爭承諾並不足夠或無效管理利益 衝突和業務划定,並可能要求上市申請人做出額外安排。例如,獨立非執行董事或須審核 控股股東就現有或未來競爭業務授出的選擇權、優先認股權或優先否決權,以及決定是否 行使這些權利。他們亦可能需要向公眾披露關於行使或不行使這些權利的相關事宜。26

7. 股份期權計劃

為錶彰雇員和董事對公司的貢獻和與他們分享公司的成果,香港很多上市公司都採納股份 期權計劃。擬發行人可能考慮採納首次公開招股前計劃或首次公開招股後計劃或同時採納 兩者。 就首次公開招股後計劃而言,《上市規則》第17章有多項規則須予遵守。例如,向董 事、首席執行官、主要股東或其聯繫人授予期權必須獲得獨立非執行董事批准(不包括獲 授期權者)。向主要股東或獨立非執行董事授予期權也須獲得股東批准。27 更為重要的是,根據首次公開招股後計劃授出的期權的行使價不得較授出日期的市價 有折讓。根據《上市規則》第17.03(9)條,期權行使價須至少為下列兩者中的較高者: (i)有關證券在授予日期(必須為營業日)的收市價(以聯交所日報錶所載者為準);及 (ii)該等證券在緊接期權授予日期前五個營業日的平均收市價(以聯交所日報錶所載者為

24

26 27 25

《上市規則》第8.10條 於2006年3月刊發的上市決策(HKEx-LD51-3) 《2006年上市委員會年度報告》,第5至6頁 《上市規則》第17.04(1)條

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第五章 准備首次公開招股-具體上市事宜

準)。若發行人上市不足五個營業日,計算行使價時應以新發行價作為上市前營業日的收 市價。 首次公開招股前計劃無須全面遵守《上市規則》第17章的規定。如某公司於首次公開 招股之前發行期權予雇員,上市前授出的期權於上市後仍然有效,但上市後不得進一步授 出期權。首次公開招股前計劃可能規定期權的行使價將相當於首次公開招股價格的有限折 讓。有關公司須於招股說明書披露有關尚未行使期權的全部詳情、獲授期權人士及攤薄效 應以及於行使時對每股盈利的影響。28如有關披露實屬過度繁苛或無關,聯交所可豁免要 求遵守載入獲授期權人士詳情的規定。 29

聯繫我們 柯伍陳律師事務所 電話:(852) 2810 1212 傳真:(852) 2804 6311 香港中環德輔道中10號東亞銀行大廈14-15樓 網頁:www.onc.hk 張國明 合伙人 公司及商業部門主管 直線:(852) 2107 0347 電郵:raymond.cheung@onc.hk 黃麗文 律師 直線:(852) 2107 0311 電郵:angel.wong@onc.hk

28

《上市規則》第17.02(1)條 聯交所於2009年7月刊發的指引信(HKEx-GL11-09)

29

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第六章 首次公開招股的招股章程: 從制作到完成印發 本財經印刷商。

章闡明在促使首次公開招股項目取得成功中經常被忽略,但至關重要的因素:選擇

在香港進行首次公開招股需要遵守一系列的監管規定和合規事宜,在很多情況下,這 些程序亦涉及發行人選擇的印刷商。勝任的財經印刷商不僅在策划和執行首次公開招股過 程中的每個階段為發行人提供方便有效的文件制作服務,而且具備特別專長以符合刊登和 上載要求及物流支持。在發行人進行首次公開招股前、招股過程中以及公開招股後需要完 成的所有重要任務中,與財經印刷商的合作由最初階段的盡職審查展開,以至招股章程的 起稿、重擬、翻譯、修改、呈交給香港聯交所、定稿、電子上載及分發給公眾投資者。 這一系列繁復的程序由數據及資料的完整性及保密性開始,首次公開招股項目的財經 印刷商必須提供一個安全、保密的環境儲存數據,因為資料保密是順利開展項目的大前 提。印刷商在此最初階段的角色是提供一個數據存儲平台,以便獲授權人士輕鬆存取,從 而進行首次公開招股前的盡職審查,而無需擔心資料泄露。有效的桌面排版、無縫的文檔 編制、專業翻譯、優質印刷制作及保守機密是對一個專業財經印刷商的其他基本要求。

踏上首次公開招股之路

當公司發展到一定規模時,利潤源源不斷,在業內聲譽漸隆,此時可能需要進入另一新裡 程。為提昇公司的未來發展和前景,把公司上市是順理成章的考慮。在籌備首次公開招股 中,發行人所選擇的財經印刷商除了完成首次公開招股項目外,還可成為公司的長期合作 伙伴,為日後文件制作需要提供全面解決方案。一傢具備下列核心能力的財經印刷商便有 助於使首次公開招股程序更加事半功倍、化繁為簡,令您高枕無憂。

文件制作能力

印制招股章程前通常需要大量的草稿和樣稿,財經印刷商管理、安全保存及跟蹤文件的優 勢是重要考慮因素。尤其是,印刷商的重要任務包括在整個首次公開招股過程中不斷修訂 上市登記文件的內容,以及把招股章程轉換為電子版本以便分發給有關專業工作團隊及電 子上載至香港聯交所,在其網站刊登等等。

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第六章 首次公開招股的招股章程:從制作到完成印發

具有強大文件處理能力的財經印刷商,一般會配備存有相同備份文件及防火墻保護的 多網站數據中心,以防止因技術失誤或傳輸故障導致丟失重要文件。因此,從財經印刷商 對信息科技投資的堅持方面,便可反映其專業精神。

二十四小時服務

准時和精確地編制首次公開招股的招股章程是非常重要的,一旦接收到新資料,財經印刷 商必須能夠即時應對,更新資料。除為發行人提供二十四小時的聯繫和信息外,印刷商的 客戶服務團隊也在發行人、其他專業工作團隊與印刷商各內部專家之間起著有效的「橋 梁」作用。 二十四小時服務是不可或缺的條件之一,以全球發售或兩地上市的情況為例,由於這 些情況涉及海外投資者,特別是基礎投資者,不同國家的各方專業工作團隊如投資銀行、 審計師、律師將在發售的多個階段提供建議及意見。

定制桌面排版能力

在當今競爭激烈的環境中,財經印刷商能夠全日二十四小時服務,為首次公開招股發行人 提供支持是最基本要求。另一要素是全面排版和組合服務,包括對比多份草稿、標記跟蹤 版本,及提供雙語功能的實力。 鑒於印刷商將收到專業工作團隊大量及種類繁多的文件及手稿,因此在此階段的流程 管理中效率及準確性至為關鍵。全部稿件必須按規定格式編譯,並須隨後在嚴格時限要求 內發送予各指定收件人。各方的回復及新增資料將綜合編入招股章程修訂稿,作出新修訂 或跟蹤修訂,以供傳閱。在這循環往復過程中未被發現的錯誤將對制作的每一後續階段造 成損害。因此,排版和校對的精確度實在舉足輕重。

專業翻譯能力

根據監管規定,香港的招股章程必須以英文和中文版本印刷,翻譯和編輯因此成為首次公 開招股過程中的兩個重要元素。為確保翻譯工作迅速及準確地完成,有必要選擇在首次公 開招股方面擁有必備能力和經驗的財經印刷商。 編制招股章程的另一決定性因素是持續提供快捷的翻譯服務,尤其是參與項目的專業 工作團隊,如投資銀行、律師、會計師、公司秘書和估值師等經常提供數據及意見以收納 入招股章程和作出修改,必須實時進行翻譯和處理。配備經驗豐富和專業內部翻譯團隊的 財經印刷商可以更有效地控制雙語工作的時間及質量。

提供虛擬數據庫(VDR)

在首次公開招股項目中,不同專業工作團隊會不斷地存取機密資料,尤其是在盡職審查過 程中。虛擬數據庫通過外聯網管理及共享機密資料,提供一個安全平台,令數據採集得以 有效及保密地進行。 理論上,VDR容許各方獲授權人士隨時隨地存取機密資料。為確保其有效性,大量方 便用戶的功能必不可少,而安全性及完整性的高度保障亦不可或缺。在此方面須註意的細

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節包括將VDR托管於高度安全的數據中心、採取現代化的安保措施,並奉行對發行人申請 而言所需的最佳管治常規。

高效的印刷制作

制作招股章程的截稿時間往往很緊迫,並且在印刷和制作所需數量的上市登記預印本,以 及大批量印刷招股章程和申請錶格發送予收款銀行和其它機構投資者等重要過程需要精確 安排。財經印刷商必須擁有完備的內部印刷制作團隊,以便更能有效控制印刷能力和時間 安排,確保能夠順利交付。 在香港擁有最先進的印刷設備,不僅是財經印刷商的明顯優勢,其亦可憑藉垂直整合 的生產流程,在短時間內制作大批印件來應付急趕需求和加印的需要。

後勤物流能力

擁有後勤物流支持對印刷商同樣有利,因為其能夠滿足預計以外及緊急的加印需求。當投 資者對首次公開招股反應異常熱烈,已印制的招股章程及申請錶格遠在認購截止日期前就 已分派完畢,此時強大的後勤物流系統即發揮作用。在此情況下,財經印刷商必須在短至 數小時內滿足發行人的緊急印刷訂單,補充招股章程及申請錶格,然後使用經印刷商自有 的運輸車隊把加印的招股章程及申請錶格盡快交付至收款銀行各分行。 以上是財經印刷商為您制作首次公開招股的招股章程應具備的條件。下列條件在您挑 選財經印刷商時易被忽略但同樣重要。作為首選的財經印刷商必須同時具備以下所述的條 件和設施。

確保保密性的把關能力

富經驗的財經印刷商獲委任後,將取得發行人所提供的所有高度敏感及機密資料。由於香 港監管機構設定了嚴格的資料披露及保密要求,印刷商在招股章程所載資料的保管、處 理、翻譯及排版等方面擔任的「把關人」角色至關重要。 此外,發行人將提供其業務、股權架構、財務報錶及重大合約的資料以供審閱及盡職 審查。雖然並非所有該等資料將最終出現在招股章程中,但其中大部分對外界第三方而言 具有極大潛在價值。財經印刷商致力奉行保密操守准則是對發行人的必要保障。 負責任的印刷商須在服務客戶時遵循操守守則及商業道德規範,在處理所有客戶的敏 感機密資料和數據時嚴格履行最佳行業慣例和公司治理原則。

聲譽及客戶忠誠度

財經印刷商如在管理及實施香港首次公開招股項目方面具有豐富經驗和能力,且在其他金 融中心擁有強大網絡,將能從其過往的項目中汲取大量實踐經驗,以確保項目的進行平穩 順利。 另外,客戶關係的性質與合作時間長短,可非常準確地反映財經印刷商的效能。一般 而言,與多家上市公司保持長期往來乃一貫出眾服務的良好體現。倘印刷商在為客戶完成 首次公開招股項目後,還繼續為其提供財經文件解決方案(如制作中報及年報、並購項目

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第六章 首次公開招股的招股章程:從制作到完成印發

及處理遵例需要),則信譽更有保證。與客戶建立的長期合作關係是對財經印刷商良好信 譽的最佳寫照。

全球網絡

作為國際金融中心成熟發展的一門業務,扎根香港而具有豐富國際業務經驗及擁有環球網 絡的財經印刷商肯定會為發行人帶來附加價值。以香港為基地,而在主要國際金融中心 (如倫敦、紐約、東京及新加坡)設有辦事處或與相關業務伙伴建立了良好關係的財經印 刷商乃上上之選,由此反映了印刷商「立足本港、放眼全球」的業務理念。此外,以「本 地收費」服務客戶的專業精神也是重要考慮因素之一。 由於中國相關公司目前占香港首次公開招股市場最大份額,在內地主要城市如北京、 上海及深圳設有辦事處的財經印刷商可為發行人提供額外優勢。在中國擁有策略據點的印 刷商可為國內的發行人提供支持、覆蓋及項目管理服務。印刷商於中國本土建立的翻譯團 隊,亦可為國內特定行業報告提供具有內地風格的非常準確及高效的翻譯服務。

質量保證

在編制招股章程過程中,對稿件修改多達數十次並不鮮見,而每一次可能包含專業工作團 隊要求作出的數十甚至數百個新修訂。鑒於涉及的複雜性,在此過程中很容易產生混亂及 人為錯誤。 校對及編輯是將該等錯誤降至最低的最有效方法,此過程要求校對人員具有優異的綜 合素質。例如,必須精通雙語以確保文件中英文版本的一致性,同時,對招股章程的不同 部分有深入認識,在處理錶格及圖錶細節的差異時亦屬必不可少。最後,作為招股章程的 最後的「把關人」角色,校對人員最好直屬於印刷商的內部質量控制團隊,作為其整體的 一部分。

項目管理

規划、監控及實施首次公開招股過程是一項要求極高的任務。在其所有階段-從最初提交 上市登記錶,至收到上市科的意見及提交經修訂文檔,至籌備路演及整合文件-此過程需 要全面而具有專業技能的項目管理團隊,能夠對各方專業工作團隊的特別要求積極作出回 應,可確保每個階段的持續成功。 在實務上,財經印刷商須滿足首次公開招股項目各參與專業工作團隊的需要,包括發 行人、投資銀行、包銷商、法律顧問、會計師及其他獲授權修訂文件的專業工作人員。這 需要財經印刷商的緊密協調以及對發行人及時而到位的項目管理支持。

會議室及相關設施

由於在招股章程的制作階段,許多重要的決定均在會議上「即場」作出,因此,在印刷商 的設施內提供多個寬敞、設備齊全的會議室,會增加作業上的優勢。所有專業工作團隊可 使用該等設施,密切監控文件的制作,並直接向財經印刷商提供資料。文具用品、台式電 腦、電話會議系統及其他辦公設備的充足供應,亦令客戶可持續在印刷商的設施內專心工 作,同時與其自身的辦公室保持聯繫。

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同樣地,財經印刷商亦應照顧長期駐留在印刷商辦公室工作的客戶的基本需要,包括 餐食、茶點及交通安排。尤其是在關鍵的定稿期間,在一個令人放鬆的氛圍中,咖啡間、 按摩椅及健身器材等康樂設施可令客戶一洗疲勞,精神煥發。 其他看似微不足道但卻重要的印刷商服務,包括為來自內地或海外的發行人工作團隊 提供禮賓安排,以及機場∕火車站接送服務。

設計能力

為不同文件的刊印需要,有效量身定制首次公開招股前、首次公開招股和首次公開招股後 的文件,還要有高水準的設計配合。為此,發行人應選擇不僅擁有內部設計團隊,亦在首 次公開招股的招股章程和相關工作(例如設計年報和中報)擁有豐富經驗的財經印刷商。 優秀的創意設計團隊提供的出色意念,能夠確保招股章程為發行人傳達一致和正面的 公司信息。成功獲得著名的國際設計大獎便是印刷商此方面往績紀錄的衡量標準。 總括而言,為香港首次公開招股項目選擇一名財經印刷商,實乃對該印刷商的經驗、 往績紀錄、項目團隊、服務質量保證及技術實力的信任投票。當財經印刷商具備這些質 素,發行人便可合理確定其有能力管理首次公開招股項目獨特而複雜的過程。在衡量前述 各種因素後能夠脫穎而出的財經印刷商,亦可成為發行人眾多其他相關服務的長期戰略合 作伙伴。

聯繫我們 安業集團 陳淑禎 董事 安業財經印刷有限公司 香港中環皇后大道中100號2樓 電話:(852) 2532 4611 傳真:(852) 2526 6820 enquiry@equitygroup.com.hk

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香港首次公開招股指南2013

第七章 選擇您的股票過戶登記處 對人頭疼的事情。在整個過程中,您需要做出很多選擇:有些您之前可能從未遇過, 於一家公司來說,決定在證券交易所上市是至關重要的決策之一,也是既興奮又令

有些則在今後的日子裏不會再有接觸。在這種情況下,您很難做好準備並確保每次都做出 正確的決定。 在為上市所做的所有決定中,任命股票過戶登記處看起來似乎是微不足道的任務,但 實際上這卻是同他們建立長期且富有成效關係初期的關鍵因素。您需要股票過戶登記處協 助您做出一系列其他決定,包括首次公開招股(IPO)以及實現長遠目標——例如公司企業 行動、股東參與或者股東會議管理。或許您是首次實施IPO,但是對於股票過戶登記處來 說,卻已有無數的同類實踐經驗。因此,有他們幫忙梳理您即將面對的複雜狀況是最理想 的選擇。雖然表面看來所有IPO都大同小異,但實際上每一個都需面對一些獨特的環境及 市場狀況。

法律要求

上市規則規定,所有在香港聯交所上市的公司都需任命一個經核准的股票過戶登記處:

8.16 發行人須為經核准的股票過戶登記處,或須聘有經核准的股票過戶登記處,以便在香 港設置其股東名冊。 「經核准的股票過戶登記處」指根據《證券及期貨(在證券市場上市)規則》第12 條獲 批准成立的法人組織的屬下成員。

選定股票過戶登記處的最佳時間

選定股票過戶登記處的最佳時間,應至少在上市之前三個月。若您要實施的IPO規模複雜 龐大,則應提前更長時間完成此環節。三個月時間將允許您制定切實高效的計劃,確保您 有時間做出複雜的決定,並使得上市在潛在股東、市場及媒體的關注下順利進行。

首要考慮因素

在選擇合適的股票過戶登記處時,需考慮一些關鍵問題:首先要滿足您即將上市的要求。 如果您希望能從投資者那裏得到熱烈回應,您應選擇一個具有處理大量認購申請能力的股 票過戶登記處。如果您已決定跨境上市,您應選擇一個有處理此類上市能力且在您的IPO 所影響到的所有國家具有成熟經驗的股票過戶登記處。一些企業不幸在IPO階段失敗的原

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第七章 選擇您的股票過戶登記處

因就是沒有認識到不同國家的不同市場需求以及股東認知。 除滿足即將上市的要求外,很多公司選擇股票過戶登記處時忽略了他們長期的服務能 力。選擇一個股票過戶登記處用於滿足公司在某個時期的特定要求並不難,但您也應考慮 他們能否適應您未來發展的需要。畢竟您將同他們建立長遠的合作關係,他們不僅應能滿 足您目前的需要,也應能在未來助您一臂之力。 您需要思考如下問題:我們公司的五年發展計劃是什麼?十年發展計劃是什麼?我們 只需要少量股東還是需要一個龐大的股東散戶群?這些股東是否應是我們的消費者?是否 需要舉辦股東大會使得所有股東不論在世界各地都可以參加?是否只需要受益於本地資本 市場還是也需要海外資本市場的支援?是否有計劃在將來收購競爭對手?是否考慮在公司 實施員工股份計劃來獎勵員工?我們需要股票過戶登記處提供什麼服務?是否僅需要一個 低價服務商,還是一個能幫助維護緊密的投資者關係的長期策略伙伴,以確保公司的決定 能得到股東支援?您對這些問題的回答將幫您梳理思路,確定什麼是最適合您的股票過戶 登記處。

股票過戶登記處可以為您提供什麼服務? 單一地區、兩地及多地區上市

您也許已決定只在香港的證券交易所上市,因此您應從符合香港上市要求的股票過戶登記 處中進行選擇,而且選擇眾多。然而,若您決定進行兩地或多地區上市從而獲得更多資本 支援,您則需要做出更複雜的選擇。您可以在每個司法管轄區選擇一個符合當地上市要求 的股票過戶登記處,並管理他們之間的溝通與互動。您也可選擇在您上市的每個國家都有 運營處的股票過戶登記處,這種股票過戶登記處可自行進行跨區域內部溝通,無需花費過 多精力進行監管。 此外,您還需考慮將提供哪種形式的交易,並確保股票過戶登記處在您計劃的上市地 區具備相關經驗。例如,香港預托存證、英國存托權益以及美國存托憑證等在要求上存在 巨大差異。若您計劃發行H股或選擇人民幣股票上市,則應選擇具有相關操作經驗的股票 過戶登記處,因為相關的上市條例和規則十分複雜。確保公司獲得合理的結構和結果至關 重要,不要僅限於吸引投資,更應考慮持續的上市管理費用。在全球範圍內,許多公司都 有非常成功的兩地上市經驗,有些公司甚至在遍佈全球的四個不同地區成功上市。 紙質及網絡IPO申請 當今成熟的技術可以為IPO申請提供不同選擇。根據上市區域的不同以及您對登記申請的 要求不同,您可選擇實施完全紙質的IPO申請,也可選擇完全網絡申請形式的IPO,還可 以兩者兼備。香港提供紙質和網絡形式的IPO申請。若您也在其他國家和地區上市,則需 具體查明當地是否也提供網絡申請形式。建議您嘗試每一種申請選擇,特別是網絡平臺申 請。若您非常希望散戶股東可認購您的股票,則應為他們提供最便捷的申請途徑。若您希 望現有客戶能夠成為您的股東,則應為他們提供同產品購買體驗一致的股票申請體驗。不 同的股票過戶登記處提供不同的IPO申請選擇。在您選擇合適的股票過戶登記處時,應將 此列作考慮因素之一,並確保他們的系統可以處理您所期待的股東申請量。

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IPO結束之後:與股東溝通 從多個角度來講,公司秘書團隊的辛苦工作在IPO結束之後才告開始。一旦完成上市,您 將會擁有一群股東,並需滿足他們的要求:與股東良好溝通是關鍵,這也將助你在股東周 年大會上獲得期望的投票結果。您應瞭解股東同股票過戶登記處的溝通情況,包括股票證 書、歡迎信、股東撥打服務熱線的體驗等。香港聯交所的上市規則規定,發行人須進行電 子遞交及在線披露,並且同股東進行電子溝通。因此,您的股票過戶登記處需要有能力滿 足這些要求。為了節省支出,並且最大限度地履行企業社會責任,您應為股東選擇一個能 提供頂級電子溝通服務及相關網絡自助平臺服務的服務商。 此外,通過社交媒體管理客戶諮詢也成為一個日趨重要的能力。無論是微博還是 Twitter,年輕一代的投資者越來越喜歡通過公共網絡平臺來獲得他們期望的客戶服務。因 此,您的股票過戶登記處也應具備相應的管理策略。 股東周年大會 股東周年大會是許多公司秘書每年的工作重點。對於擁有散戶股東的公司,股東周年大會 是這些股東瞭解公司業務發展情況的一手信息、向公司提問以及同負責為股東提供投資回 報的董事會直接接觸的最佳途徑。股東周年大會也是您的投資者、業界以及媒體瞭解您公 司的途徑,因此,召開一個成功的股東大會至關重要。 通常公司需要提前三個月開始籌備股東大會,決定會議場地,並同股票過戶登記處一 起制定有關股東登記、投票以及會議的統籌管理的計劃。您希望前來參加會議的股東越 多,會議的籌備和管理就越複雜。如果在IPO階段您就可以考慮到召開股東大會的需求, 您就可以在選擇股票過戶登記處時,評估他們的人力以及基礎設施能力,特別是所能提供 的投票服務種類——包括傳統的投票紙投票以及通過電子設備投票從而立即獲得投票結 果。 您的股票過戶登記處應有能力在任何情況下滿足召開股東周年大會的需求,從而按照 您的要求展示您的品牌形象。不同國家關於大會的選擇以及監管要求不同,若您需要召開 一個兼顧多個國家的股東大會,您的股票過戶登記處應有在不同的司法管轄區的服務經 驗。此外,相關董事會文件的準備和溝通也是一項不小的任務。您應考慮您的股票過戶登 記處是否提供門戶軟體,簡化此項任務,例如允許董事會通過iPad或筆記本電腦瀏覽及修 改董事會文件。 併購及其他企業行動 在選擇股票過戶登記處時,您還應深入考慮公司企業行動方面的要求。如果您計劃在未來 某個時間收購一個當地或者海外的競爭對手,或是將在日後某個時間會合併一家業務互補 的公司,或是希望日後可以在海外籌集資金,那麼您在選擇股票過戶登記處前就應考慮這 些因素,以確保您選擇的服務商可以滿足您的這些要求。 獎勵及留住您的員工 您也許會在上市時或財務允許的情況下在上市後的某個時間為您的員工提供獎勵股份。面

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第七章 選擇您的股票過戶登記處

對多種不同的獎勵員工方法,您應確保股票過戶登記處有經驗執行和管理多種員工股份計 劃,從而使您可以為公司的高級管理層和員工提供相應的獎勵。若您有代理商及分銷商, 您也應考慮為他們提供相應獎勵。您的股票過戶登記處應具備的經驗包括:提供最大程度 的本地稅收減免、在付款期限內準確付款、為您的股東基礎的重要組成部分提供優質客戶 服務、管理計劃的執行及溝通、滿足公司財務報告的要求並應對任何您可能擁有的國際化 元素。若您的股票過戶登記處無法支持各種員工股份計劃,並需要將計劃管理服務外包給 其他公司,那麼您的成本總額則會相應增加。

股東挑戰

認為上市以及為股東提供投資回報簡單不過且不會遇到任何問題,是理想的想法。現實 中,絕大部分公司發現他們有一些有爭議的問題需要與股東進行溝通並得到他們的投票支 持。許多公司遇到的問題是他們不瞭解股東的真實身份,因為股票持有帳戶的登記人是代 理公司而非股東本人。瞭解您的股東基礎構成可以有效地阻止和管理某些潛在問題,從而 避免在股東大會產生否定的投票結果。因此,您的股票過戶登記處應為您提供股東分析服 務,並有能力運行投票代理徵集,從而幫您確認股東身份,與他們進行直接溝通,無論他 們是通過代理還是直接登記在冊。

教育及培訓

您的股票過戶登記處應為您提供頂級服務,讓您瞭解經營所處環境不斷轉變的法律及監管 制度。選擇一個重視教育的股票過戶登記處,從最初的歡迎手冊到幫您步入正軌,這些服 務應包括新聞通訊或者相關的信息更新,以及一系列滿足您專業培訓和發展需求的網絡研 討會。您的股票過戶登記處擁有的相關知識越多,他們為您提供切實高效服務的可能就越 大。 上述的評估標準助您選擇滿足您上市及未來發展要求的合適股票過戶登記處,確保為 您的未來節省時間。

聯繫我們 IPO專家: 鐘絳紅 董事總經理 香港中央證券登記有限公司 電話:+852 2862 8512 電郵:Pamela.chung@computershare.com.hk 地址:香港灣仔皇后大道東183號合和中心46樓 客戶聯繫: 黃渼惠 客戶服務部主管 香港中央證券登記有限公司 電話:+852 2862 8696 電郵:lina.wynn@computershare.com.hk 地址:香港灣仔皇后大道東183號合和中心46樓

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第八章 與投資者溝通- 公關公司塑造企業形象的角色 對注不僅僅處於新股上市(IPO)過程期間,而且是一個漫長的企業成長過程,因此,公 於一家即將在港上市的企業而言,毫無疑問將會受到資本市場的高度關注。這種關

關公司擔當舉足輕重的角色,協助上市企業做好各方面的準備,建立一個長期的品牌及投 資者關係戰略目標。 我們可以這樣劃分:進行上市工作及準備,配合公司整體上市進程,實施立體式的輻 射宣傳,冀能獲得最佳效果,屬於短期目標;上市後,公司的一舉一動將備受市場關注, 因此樹立公司品牌形象是一場持久戰,並需持續進行,這屬於中期目標;長期目標則是進 一步提升企業知名度和信譽,以香港作為輻射點,將企業包括業務、文化、品牌、價值向 市場宣傳,推而廣之,鋪成一家企業之成長大道。

公關於上市各階段的工作概覽 1. 緩衝期-遞交上市申請表前

企業在尚未向香港聯合交易所遞交上市申請表(Form A1)之時,企業仍可因應需要及預 算,考慮配合業務狀況及性質,投放以業務為主題的廣告,或進行適量之媒體訪問,以作 為申請上市前之最後宣傳策略,並為配合未來三個月至半年之上市過程及進度進行宣傳前 奏。務須謹記的是,即使公司管理層接受任何訪問或投放廣告,均不能提及上市及相關資 訊,同時必需諮詢保薦人及律師之專業意見。 於緩衝期作適當及適量的宣傳,旨在不違反香港交易所(港交所)相關上市規定的前 提下,提升公司在香港市場的社會認知度及增強曝光率,為進入正式宣傳階段提供輿論鋪 墊。 此階段向外發放之信息以公司品牌、業務發展作主題,以增加公司知名度及引起市場 對相關行業的興趣,但絕不能提及任何關於上市之信息。 在這期間,上市前期的準備工作絕不能掉而輕心,上市企業開始考慮以下相關工作: 公司管理層討論業務重點訊息、行業分析、市場規模和增長速度、競爭形勢和競爭對手分 析、關鍵成功因素分析(KSF)、確認公司投資亮點、確認公司未來增長策略、公司分析、 金融市場定位及包裝等等,其目的是在即將踏入上市靜默期前,未雨綢繆,以期之後的上 市進程更為順暢。

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第八章 與投資者溝通-公關公司塑造企業形象的角色

專業的公關除了協助企業開展以上種種工作外,同時亦要致力為企業準備既闊且廣之 工作範疇,包括公司演示材料修訂、重點訊息擬定、協助保薦人路演活動、投資者關係監 測、危機評估和應變策略、企業形象設計與公關包裝等,而當中企業形象設計與公關包 裝,又涉及到以下各項: • 企業形象:徽標設計/文具/名片/簡報範本/禮品設計/文件夾/企業宣傳冊/手 提袋/雜項物品 • 活動統籌及管理 • 媒體策劃及宣傳推廣:平面廣告/電視廣告/戶外廣告 • 投資者關係及公司網頁設計 • 企業錄像:企業錄像製作-劇本及旁白撰寫及編輯/拍攝日程設計/後期製作 • 專業硬照攝影:公司業務/公司管理層/廠房/國內產地/批發中心 2. 靜默期-遞交上市申請表至聆訊 此階段的上市工作重點是對公司財務的內部審計、法律資質審核、招股書材料準備等前期 籌備及撰寫工作,同時相關材料會遞交港交所進行審核。在該段靜默期內,港交所對擬上 市公司的信息披露有著異常嚴格的要求,因此該階段的媒體宣傳策略以低調為主旋律,公 關公司方面的工作主要是加強媒體監控,預防危機出現。同時,就公司各方面資源進行評 估,籌劃合適的重點,以為未來宣傳階段做好議程設置工作。 由於企業旋即進入上市審核之聆訊,因此靜默期的宣傳需要非常謹慎,以免觸犯港交 所上市規則,造成任何影響上市進度之阻礙。 這時期帶出這一問題:在靜默為原則的前提下,應該如何謹慎地進行宣傳工作?是否 應作宣傳?訊息圍繞公司文化、品牌、社會責任等為主是否可以向外發放,以提高公司於 香港市場的知名度?同樣,有關企業絕不能提及任何有關上市之信息。 當然,公關公司仍可在這期間擬定將能派得上用場之宣傳重點及資料: • 與公司及保薦人進行溝通,歸納出宣傳重點及素材資料,包括公司管理、業務重點、 投資亮點、技術突破、品牌優勢、優質管理等,並對該類素材進行進一步甄選,提煉 最具新聞價值的主題 • 對提取的新聞主題進行進一步規劃,分不同階段發放 • 由公關進行稿件優化,作為素材庫備案,以供宣傳期使用 3. 渲染期-通過聆訊後至香港公開招股前 此階段開始正式踏入上市宣傳期,公關公司在發放新聞稿及廣告投放方面的工作全面啟 動,並將根據公司自身需求和預算確定媒體宣傳方案,並制定更為詳細的宣傳策略、排期 和執行工作。 同時,盡量放大正面報道的宣傳效果,嚴密監控負面或敏感資訊,向傳媒透露有關上 市之基本資料,企業避免跟競爭對手作直接比較,亦不能對定價或估值進行任何評論。

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新聞稿 • 建立正式的消息發佈管道,統一發佈訊息,讓媒體開始正式介入上市相關的媒體報道 議程,並且指引其報道方向跟隨公司的議程設置 • 新聞稿的發佈具有一定的覆蓋規模,可以製造第一波宣傳攻勢,主要以香港地區的本 地及國際財經版媒體、通訊社為主 • 必須通過正式管道發佈準確無誤的招股資訊,這也是上市宣傳過程中必不可少的步驟 • 新聞稿可以最大範圍將招股信息向外公佈

媒體專訪 • 相對於新聞稿,媒體專訪的報道方式更深入細節更生動、篇幅更大,有助於投資者對 公司有綜合全面的瞭解 • 有利於塑造一個專業的管理層團隊形象,提振投資者對公司的信心 • 公關公司會在上市規則容許的情況/時機下,進行媒體訪問

相關宣傳活動 • 投資者及分析員午餐會:讓投資者及分析員更了解企業相關資料 • 新聞發佈會:讓財經媒體更了解企業相關資料 • 投資者、分析師到廠房/產地訪問:目的是建立企業與財經分析員、投資者和股東的 緊密聯繫,協助解答及跟進有關查詢 4. 衝刺期-香港公開招股至上市當日 此階段是上市過程的最後階段,也是上市宣傳的衝刺期,這一期間公關公司需要協助公司 上市成為全城焦點,無論新聞或是廣告都呈現密集式發佈,引發市場熱烈討論,大幅提升 公司之曝光率。

宣傳宗旨 • 提供客觀的招股反應、定價、招股結果等各方面資訊,多提供事實,少提供評論 • 不對上市後的股價走勢或公司估值作任何預測 • 公司任何尚未落實之發展投資計劃、收購合併、盈利等敏感信息,不可作任何預測 • 公開招股完結後,所有傳媒訪問都可以進行,刊登日期可按公關公司提供之宣傳策略 方案釐定

可能採用之宣傳方法 公告:於香港報章財經版選擇刊登香港公開招股認購公告及認購結果法定公告,讓公眾能 於具公信力的報章中收到有關信息,亦可同時強化公司是次上市的宣傳效果。 eIPO廣告投放:隨著互聯網日益普及,港交所近年積極推廣電子首次公開招股(eIPO) 服務,為投資者提供更便捷之認購新股管道,以提高效率。上市公司會於公開發售期間,

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第八章 與投資者溝通-公關公司塑造企業形象的角色

於部份香港報章刊發全版彩色的eIPO廣告,吸引投資者注意,宣傳網上認購。近年,互聯 網已成為一個極為重要的eIPO廣告投放平台。 上市慶賀廣告:慶賀廣告將在公司上市當日刊登,目的是慶賀公司成功上市,為上市項目 內的重要宣傳工具之一。於上市日,公司、策略性投資者及中介機構均於當日刊登慶賀廣 告,以表現公司獲得各方的熱烈支持,公司亦可借此良機答謝投資者的支持,將宣傳效應 傳達至不同受眾層面。 上市日電視專訪:安排公司管理層接受主流電子媒體之訪問,於公司上市當天播出,可加 強公司的宣傳力度,讓公眾對公司加深了解。訪問內容主要圍繞公司首日掛牌的股價表現 及走勢,以及公司的未來發展策略等,讓公眾瞭解企業的發展,再加深投資者對公司的認 知。 5. 持續期-上市後 上市後,公司的曝光率及知名度均大幅提升,所面臨的考驗將會更多。因此,公司需要與 投資者和市場加強溝通,以保持信息披露的專業性及品牌形象。公關公司將根據公司上市 後的市場反應,提供一份具有針對性的長期財經公關媒體方案,以配合公司達成中長期目 標。 公關公司需致力於透過一系列公關活動,包括投資者及媒體關係活動,使資本市場及 媒體能瞭解上市企業全方位情況,包括業務經營狀況、行業概況、未來發展等,最終目標 是使企業與投資者和其他持分者之間進行最有效的互動,增加投資者吸納公司股票的信 心,從而令企業在資本市場上能取得公平的估值,並將公司的發展潛力及正面信息傳遞給 財資市場,從而發掘優質的潛在投資者。 市場選擇眾多,上市企業除了做好本業,做大做強之外,也要懂得利用公關策略及傳 媒網絡,增加披露,並告訴市場:「我們就是一家好公司!」

聯繫我們 亞洲公關有限公司 香港中環干諾道中13-14号 歐陸貿易中心5樓 电話:+852 2583 9938 enquiries@prasia.net www.prasia.net 黄有杰 总经理 tony.wong@prasia.net 周子龙 客户总監 tl.chow@prasia.net

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第九章 首次公開招股項目: 網上投資者關係的重要性

上現在基礎上的盈利能力和發展潛力;而投資者關係則是上市企業與投資群眾之間的 市企業的價值不僅是企業利潤和凈資產,更重要的是企業的未來,是企業在過去和

重要橋樑,故此良好的投資者關係可助企業增加透明度,給投資群眾有一種預期。 首次公開招股(IPO)是港股市場的榮耀,公司在上市前,需要向公眾披露有關公司信 息,而這份信息披露文件就是招股書。它通常包括發行企業的背景資料、財務概況、董事 局人員介紹等信息。調查發現,在1999年期間絕大部分的投資者(約80%)會從傳統的媒體 得到本港上市公司的最新數據,這些媒體可能包括:報章、電視或雜誌。只有不多於6% 的投資者會利用互聯網或電郵等新工具。但自從2007年香港交易所(港交所)全面推行「無 紙化政策」-電子呈交系統後,網上平台和電台廣播比傳統的媒體佔有更大的市場份額, 可見網上投資者關係日趨成熟。上市企業除了需要百分百符合港交所的法規要求外,亦通 過與投資者的有效溝通、實現持續的業績回報等方式,為公司樹立健康、規範、透明的公 眾形象打下了堅實的基礎。

港交所電子形式的使用

根據《上市規則》第2.07A(1)條,在符合所有適用法律及規則以及上市發行人本身組織章 程文件的情況下,只要上市發行人採用電子形式,向其證券的有關持有人發送或以其他方 式提供有關公司通訊,上市發行人就已符合此等《上市規則》中任何要求上市發行人發 送、郵寄、派發、發出、發布或以其他方式提供任何公司通訊的規定;此外,發行人只要 採用電子格式編備的公司通訊,就已符合此等《上市規則》中任何要求上市發行人的公司 通訊須採用印刷本的規定。

港交所資料及文件呈交的法規

港交所的《上市規則》內有關呈交資料及文件的程序,將由交易所不時決定,並以《上市 規則》應用指引的方式發佈。

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第九章 首次公開招股項目:網上投資者關係的重要性

就刊發及向港交所呈交文件的格式、時間、程序或其他事項,發行人必須遵守交易所 不時釐定及頒布的有關規定。 1 若有關文件須同時刊發中、英文本,發行人必須向本交易所同時呈交該文件可供即時 發表的中、英文電子版本,以登載在交易所網站及其企業網站上。 2 在2008 年6 月24日之後,每名發行人必須自設網站,以在其上登載發行人根據第2.07C 條在交易所網站登載的公告、通告或其他文件;登載的時間應與發行人在交易所網站上登 載有關文件的電子版本的時間相同。在任何情況下: (i) 若文件的電子版本是在下午7時後登載在交易所網站,發行人必須在登載後下一個營業 日上午8時30分前在其企業網站上登載有關文件。 (ii) 若文件的電子版本是在任何其他時間登載在本交易所網站,發行人必須在登載後一小 時內在其企業網站上登載有關文件。3 發行人網站所在的區域毋須由發行人擁有或直接營運。發行人的網站只要在萬維網上 獲分配專用的位置,可以設於第三者區域,另外亦可由第三者代發行人管理。 發行人必須確保其根據此《上市規則》在其自己網站登載的文件持續登載於網站至少 五年。發行人的網站須免費讓公眾人士取得此等文件。4 就2012年4月之最新修訂,發行人需在其自設企業網站及港交所登載組織章程文件及股 東提名人選參選董事的程序。 請考慮以下問題以檢視公司在上市前是否擁有完善的網上投資者關係服務? 1

企業網站是否已建立及其內容是否能反映公司業務狀況?

是/否

2

企業網站內是否已設立完善的投資者關係部份?

是/否

3

是否已百分百符合港交所文件呈交的法規要求?

是/否

4

能否將公司信息發佈到全球渠道?(如彭博、路透社、騰訊 是 / 否 財經)

5

是否已建立容易管理的電子版投資者名單及定期更新?

是/否

6

是否已聘請熟悉港交所《上市規則》之投資者關係專員, 是 / 否 並會對閣下企業提出意見?

7

綜合各項問題,企業是否需要聘請外部團隊提供24小時支 是 / 否 援?

1

《上市規則》第2.07C(5)條 《上市規則》第2.07C(4)(c)條 3 《上市規則》第2.07C(6)(a)條 4 《上市規則》第2.07C(6)(b)條 2

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香港首次公開招股指南2013

良好的網上投資者關係對企業公開招股有著重要意義

良好的投資者關係能夠增加公司透明度,有利於促進公司治理結構完善,提高規範運作水 平、科學決策及內部管理水平。善用網上投資者關係服務使上市公司更有可能得到投資者 的青睞,令公司股價獲得相對較高的估價水平。 基於良好的溝通基礎及和諧的投資者關係,上市公司的發展戰略獲得了投資者的廣泛 認同,因而公司為持續推進主營業務發展而推出的融資項目也較能獲得投資者和資本市場 的支持。相對於其他競爭者,這樣的公司更容易獲得相對的估值優勢,從而降低融資成 本。 投資者關係屬於戰略管理範疇,選擇良好的網上投資者關係公司能幫助上市企業達至 事半功倍效果,尢其在IPO時更可助企業提升知名度;故此專業的投資者關係服務供應商 (包括傳統及新世代) 由此衍生出來,除了百分百符合交易所法規外,亦會把上市企業信 息發佈到全球媒體渠道,如彭博、路透社、道瓊斯、騰訊財經、新浪財經等;透過信息披 露,接觸世界各地的投資群眾,促進上市公司與投資者之間的良性關係,從中建立公司的 透明度,加強上市公司與投資者、金融界之間的密切溝通。

聯繫我們 今時財經服務有限公司 香港上環文咸東街40-44號泰基商業大廈27樓 網址:www.todayir.com 李敏儀 客戶總監-投資者關係 電話:(852) 2893 5622 傳真:(852) 2892 1112 電郵:business@TodayIR.com

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第十章 上市後的合規責任

第十章 上市後的合規責任

一各項持續合規責任。本章節簡要介紹有關上市後的三大合規責任,即披露(i)內幕消 家公司的證券在香港聯合交易所有限公司(聯交所)掛牌上市後,該公司必須遵守

息;(ii)須予公佈的交易;及(iii)關連交易。上市公司應注意,在《香港聯合交易所有限公 司證券上市規則》(《上市規則》)、《證券及期貨條例》(第571章),以及在其它香 港的證券法律和法規所列載的其它合規責任。

披露內幕消息

上市公司及時披露其重大資料以維持市場透明度及保障投資者,一直是香港監管機構監管 的重點。 法定要求 因此,《證券及期貨條例》已經修訂,以規管上市法團「內幕消息」的披露。《證券及期 貨條例》新增第XIVA部,並於2013年1月1日生效,「內幕消息」的披露責任因此成為法 律的一部分。 證券及期貨事務監察委員會(證監會)已發出《內幕消息披露指引》,臚列例子並討 論特定情況所涉及的事宜。《內幕消息披露指引》並無法律效力,上市法團仍需自行判斷 哪些消息屬於內幕消息。但是,《內幕消息披露指引》所提出的原則及闡釋能夠說明證監 會對於新的披露要求的觀點。

甚麼可構成內幕消息? 於2013年1月1日生效的《證券及期貨條例》第XIVA部規定,就某上市法團而言,「內幕 消息」指符合以下說明的具體消息或資料︰ (i) 該法團的; (ii) 關於該法團的股東或高級人員的;或

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(iii)該法團的上市證券的或該等證券的衍生工具的;及 並非普遍為慣常(或相當可能會)進行該法團上市證券交易的人所知,但該等消息或 資料如普遍為他們所知,則相當可能會對該等證券的價格造成重大影響。 內幕消息的定義與《證券及期貨條例》在適用於內幕交易的情況下採用的「有關消 息」的定義相同。 《內幕消息披露指引》規定了「內幕消息」這個概念所包含的三項主要元素,分別 是︰ (a) 關於某法團的消息或資料必須具體; (b) 該等消息或資料必須並非普遍為進行(或相當可能會進行)該法團證券交易的市場界 別所知;及 (c) 該等消息或資料如普遍為他們所知,則相當可能會對該法團證券的價格造成重大影 響。 即使有《內幕消息披露指引》的闡釋,上市法團必須評估重大或突發事件的影響,以 決定其是否構成上市法團的內幕消息。上市法團亦必須考慮當時的市場狀況及周邊情況。 例如,在市場動盪時期,市場對有關上市公司財務表現及狀況的消息,不論是正面的還是 負面的,反應都更為敏感。

可能構成「內幕消息」的例子 《內幕消息披露指引》列舉了一些上市法團應該考慮是否作出披露的事項及情況︰ • 業績表現或對業績表現的期望出現變動; • 財政狀況出現變動,如現金流危機、信貸緊縮; • 控制權及控制權協議出現變動; • 董事、監事或核數師出現變動; • 股本變動,如新股配售、紅股發行、供股、股份拆細、股份合併及股本削減; • 發行的債務證券、可換股票據或可藉以取得或認購證券的期權或權證; • 收購或出售股權、其他重大資產或業務; • 組成合資企業; • 影響法團的資產、負債、財務狀況或盈虧的架構重組及分拆; • 法律爭議及程序; • 遭一家或多於一家銀行撤銷或取消信貸額度; • 資產價值出現變動; • 相關債務人無力償債; • 沒有投購保險的貨物遭到實質損毀;

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• 投資組合內的金融工具升值或貶值,包括因期貨合約、衍生工具、權證、掉期保障對 沖、信貸違約掉期而產生的金融資產或負債; • 專利權、權利或無形資產因市場創新而貶值; • 接獲收購相關資產的要約; • 創新的產品或工序; • 新的牌照、專利權、註冊商標; • 客戶發出訂單、取消訂單或作出任何重大改動; • 撤出或進軍新的核心業務領域; • 控股股東抵押法團的股份;或 • 早前發出的公告內的主題事項出現變動。

應何時及如何披露內幕消息? 上市法團須在知道任何內幕消息後,在合理地切實可行的範圍內,盡快向公眾披露該消 息。披露應以發佈正式公告的形式進行。上市法團在向公眾全面披露有關消息前,應確保 該消息絕對保密。若上市法團認為無法保持所需的機密性,或該消息可能已外泄,便應即 時向公眾披露該消息。 若法團需要時間澄清某項事件或某些情況的詳情及影響,然後才能發表詳盡公告以適 當地通知公眾,法團應考慮刊發「臨時公告」盡可能詳細說明有關事件的內容;及列出未 能刊發更詳盡公告的原因。法團應在合理地切實可行的範圍內盡快刊發詳盡公告。

容許不披露內幕消息的安全港條文 上市法團在下列情況下無須披露任何內幕消息: (1) 如作出某項披露是被香港法庭命令或其他香港成文法則所禁止; (2) 該法團採取合理預防措施,將該消息保密且該消息得以保密;及 • 該消息關乎一項未完成的計劃或商議; • 該消息屬商業秘密; • 該消息關乎香港外匯基金或執行中央銀行職能的某間機構(包括香港以外地方的機 構)向該法團或(如該法團為某公司集團的成員)向該集團的任何其他成員提供流 動資金支援;或 • 證監會豁免該項披露。

合規及管理監控的責任 《證券及期貨條例》規定上市法團的每一高級人員,均不時須採取一切合理措施,以確保 有妥善的預防措施,防止該法團發生違反披露規定。如上市法團違反披露規定,在以下情 況下,該法團的某高級人員亦屬違反該項披露規定︰

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(i) 該項違反是由該人員的蓄意、罔顧後果或疏忽的行為所導致;或 (ii) 該人員沒有不時採取一切合理措施,以確保有妥善的預防措施,防止該項違反情況。 因此,上市法團應設立及維持適當而有效的系統及程序,確保已為高級人員所知的任 何重要消息或資料能盡速地予以識別、評估及提交董事會知悉,以決定是否有需要作出披 露。為此,法團須設立系統化的信息流程,適時向董事會傳達有關事件及情況發展或發生 的消息或資料。

《上市規則》的規定 《上市規則》的近期修訂於2013年1月1日生效,明確了內幕交易的法定披露由證監會執 行。聯交所有責任根據《證券及期貨條例》維護有序、信息暢通及公平的市場。因此, 《上市規則》規定,若聯交所認為存在或可能存在上市發行人證券交易的虛假市場,上市 發行人應在諮詢聯交所後,在合理切實可行的範圍內,披露能夠避免其證券交易的虛假市 場所需的資料。無論聯交所是否對上市法團作出垂詢,上市發行人的該責任都存在。

須予公佈的交易

為促進股東對上市公司重要交易的參與度,《上市規則》第14章就若干交易設立完善規 則,主要為收購事項及出售事項,而上市公司必須向公眾披露此等交易。上述責任包括要 求按此等交易之規模,向公眾披露交易及/或徵求股東事先批准。 須予公佈的交易一般涉及收購或出售資本資產、成立合資公司等事項,並且在交易規 模方面按「五項測試」計算出至少為5%。《上市規則》訂立「五項測試」以決定交易分 類及所需的披露程度。透過採用可靠資料,相關測試將能為交易活動的相關程度以及目標 資產相對該上市公司的價值提供一個具意義的評估。 五項測試及百分比率 使用「五項測試」獲取的百分比率是透過以下計算得出的百分比數字: (i) 資產比率─有關交易所涉及的資產總值,除以上市公司的資產總值。上市公司須以其 最近期公佈的經審核帳目或半年度、季度或其他中期報告所載的資產總值(以較近期 者作準)為本,以計算資產比率。 (ii) 盈利比率─有關交易所涉及資產應佔的盈利,除以上市公司的盈利。上市公司須以其 最近期公佈的年度帳目所載的盈利(可予調整)為本。例如,上市公司如已於上一個 財政年度終止其中一項經營業務,並已於其帳目獨立披露該項已終止業務的盈利,聯 交所可能就計算盈利比率方面準備許可豁免此等盈利。 (iii)收益比率─有關交易所涉及資產應佔的收益,除以上市公司的收益。上市公司須以其 最近期公佈的年度帳目所載的收入(可予調整)為本。例如,上市公司如已於上一個 財政年度終止其中一項經營業務,並已於其帳目獨立披露已終止業務的收入,聯交所 可能就計算收益比率方面準備許可豁免此等收入。

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(iv) 代價比率─有關代價除以上市公司的市值總額。市值總額為聯交所日報表所載上市公 司證券於有關交易日期之前五個營業日的平均收市價。請注意,如上市公司將來支付/ 收取代價,該分數的分子應為根據協定應付/應收的最高代價。如並無最高總代價或無 法釐定最高價值,擬進行的交易可能分類為非常重大的收購事項,即使該交易原本可 能獲分類為其他的交易類別。 (v) 股本比率─上市公司發行作為代價的股本面值,除以進行有關交易前上市公司已發行 的股本面值。此測試只適用於上市公司發行新股本作代價的收購事項(而非出售事 項)。 交易分類及披露規定 使用「五項測試」後,相關百分比率將用作交易分類。各項須予公佈的交易有不同適用的 要求。 下表總結了根據「五項測試」得出的百分比率而作出的交易分類: 股份交易

所有比率少於5%,但代價包括尋求上市的證券

須予披露的交易

任何比率為5%或以上但所有比率均低於25%

主要交易

收購事項:任何比率為25%或以上但所有比率均低於 100% 出售事項:任何比率為25%或以上但所有比率均低於 75%

非常重大的出售事項

任何比率為75%或以上

非常重大的收購事項

任何比率為100%或以上

反向收購

嘗試實現資產上市以避免上市規定(控制權變更)

下表總結了各項交易分類有關通知、刊登公告以及股東批准的規定: 通知聯交所

刊登公告

向股東發通函 股東批准

會計師報告

需要

需要

不需要

不需要

不需要

須予披露的交 需要

需要

不需要

不需要

不需要

需要

需要

需要

需要

需要#

非常重大的出 需要

需要

需要

需要

不需要*

需要

需要

需要

需要#

需要

需要

需要

需要#

股份交易 易 主要交易 售事項

非常重大的收 需要 購事項 反向收購 #

*

需要

僅就收購業務及/或公司而言 上市發行人可自行選擇擬備會計師報告

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合併規則 為避免公司透過分拆交易而規避《上市規則》,聯交所可規定上市公司合併一連串交易, 並將之視為猶如一項交易,前提為有關交易於12個月內或其他有關期間內完成。該合併規 則適用於須予公佈的交易及關連交易(將於下文作進一步討論)。聯交所厘定合併時,所 考慮的因素包括該等交易是否: (i) 為上市公司與同一方進行,或與互相有關連的人士進行; (ii) 涉及收購或出售某特定公司或集團公司的證券或權益; (iii)涉及收購或出售一項資產的組成部分;或 (iv) 合共導致上市公司大量參與一項新業務。

關連交易

關連交易受《上市規則》第十四A章所載的規則所監管,惟情況複雜及在處理上富技術 性。有關規則旨在確保上市公司在訂立關連交易時,能顧及股東的整體利益。當然,有關 規則亦提供若干保障,防範上市公司的董事、最高行政人員或主要股東(或此等人士的聯 繫人)利用其在相關公司的職位取得利益。 最常見的關連交易乃上市公司或其附屬公司與關連人士或彼等之聯繫人進行交易。除 適用於豁免的若干情況外,關連交易一般須予以披露及申報,甚至或需事先取得獨立股東 批准。「關連交易」中的「交易」定義較「須予公佈的交易」為廣泛,由於有關交易亦包 括發行新證券、提供或收取服務以及分享服務等交易。 「關連人士」及「聯繫人」的定義

1. 關連人士 根據《上市規則》第14A.11條,關連人士包括: (i) 上市發行人(就第十四A章而言,亦包括其附屬公司)的董事、最高行政人員或主要股 東(持有公司至少10%已發行股本)或監事(就中國發行人而言); (ii) 前12個月內曾任上市發行人董事的任何人士; (iii)(i)及(ii)所述任何人士的任何「聯繫人」; (iv) 任何由上市發行人非全資擁有的附屬公司,而上文(i)至(iii)所定義有關上市公司本身 (即其附屬公司層面除外)的任何關連人士(個人或共同)獲授權行使或控制行使該 非全資附屬公司的任何股東大會的10%或以上的投票權;及 (v) 該非全資附屬公司的任何附屬公司。 儘管如此,「關連人士」不包括上市發行人全資擁有的附屬公司,或本身為(a)上市發 行人另一家附屬公司的主要股東;或(b)上市發行人任何附屬公司的董事(或前12個月內 曾任上市發行人董事的人士)、最高行政人員、主要股東或監事(就中國發行人而言)的 「聯繫人」之非全資擁有的附屬公司。

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第十章 上市後的合規責任

2. 聯繫人 《上市規則》第1.01條對「聯繫人」作廣義定義,並由《上市規則》第14A.11條作補充。 「聯繫人」分為兩類: (i) 與關連自然人相關的聯繫人-包括該關連自然人的配偶、同居儼如配偶的人士、任何 子女或繼子女、父母、繼父母、兄弟姐妹及其他親屬(「家屬權益」),及任何受關 連人士及/或該關連人士的家屬權益及/或受託人利益一定程度控制下的任何公司; (ii) 與關連公司相關的聯繫人-包括關連公司的控股公司、附屬公司和姊妹公司,及其關 連實體足以(1)在該公司的股東大會上行使或控制行使30%或以上的投票權,或(2)控 制該公司董事會大部分成員的任何公司,以及任何該公司附屬公司的其他公司。 披露要求 關連交易主要分為兩大類:即一次性關連交易及持續關連交易。就披露要求而言,有關交 易可分為三大類: (i) 完全豁免的交易 倘符合下列條件,此類關連交易均獲豁免全部有關披露、申報及經獨立股東批准的規定: • 按一般商務條款進行的交易,而每項百分比率(盈利比率除外)均︰ - 低於0.1%(不足1%的交易與上市公司附屬公司層面有關連的人士進行);或 - 低於5%,而代價也低於100萬港元;或 • 根據《上市規則》第14A.31及14A.33條獲豁免的其它交易。 (ii) 部分豁免的交易 倘符合下列條件,此類關連交易不須獨立股東事先批准,但須遵守申報規定: • 按一般商務條款進行的交易,而每項百分比率(盈利比率除外)均︰ - 低於5%;或 - 低於25%,而代價也低於1000萬港元。 (iii) 非豁免交易 就其他關連交易而言,有關上市公司須符合披露要求及取得獨立股東事先批准。此外,每 項此等交易亦須取得獨立財務顧問就交易條款是否公平合理所發出的意見及獨立董事委員 會的推薦建議。 關連交易合規建議 良好的關連交易合規制度將有助減少違反《上市規則》的風險,及促進投資者對上市公司 的信任。雖然普遍對該制度並無一套國際公認的模式,惟下列建議或可提供一些有用的意 見:

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香港首次公開招股指南2013

• 成立內部關連交易委員會或工作小組─成員包括法律、商業及/或財務部門的員工; • 上市公司執行及時的內部申報─集團屬下各公司或部門應迅速整理及申報有關關連交 易的資料; • 定期監督關連交易的狀況並進行審查; • 積極調查關連交易量的任何不尋常增加或交易條款的任何變更; • 定期更新關連人士的名單; • 倘透過監督和定期報告,公司預期交易價值將超出年度上限,則必須儘快符合《上市 規則》的所需規定; • 簽署交易文件前確定該交易是否關連交易;及 • 公司應於公佈其年報前預先搜集有關關連交易的資料和審議有關該年度關連交易的協 調工作。

結論

上市公司披露資料,是要公平、及時地向股東及公眾提供適當的數據和資料,而非只是為 了符合最低監管要求。鑒於現時有效的內部控制和促進透明度的披露處理乃投資者日益重 視的選擇標準,而且投資者往往對透明度高的公司給予優越評級,可以預見,及時披露準 確和有質素的資料將符合上市公司的利益。

聯繫我們 陳世芝 合伙人 貝克.麥堅時律師事務所 香港金鐘道88号 太古廣場一期23樓 Elsa.Chan@bakermckenzie.com 朱靜文 合夥人 貝克.麥堅時律師事務所 香港金鐘道88號 太古廣場一期23樓 Rossana.Chu@bakermckenzie.com 林雁玲 特別法律顧問 貝克.麥堅時律師事務所 香港金鐘道88號 太古廣場一期23樓 Tracynl.Lam@bakermckenzie.com

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Hong Kong IPO Guide 2013  

The 2nd Annual Guide to Listing in Hong Kong