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境外IPO实务 | 沪伦通进入 “冲刺阶段”,中企如何低成本获得国际融资?(中英文)【走出去智库】

原标题:境外IPO实务 | 沪伦通进入 “冲刺阶段”,中企如何低成本获得国际融资?(中英文)【走出去智库】

11月2日,上海证券交易所正式发布实施了与伦敦证券交易所互联互通存托凭证业务相关配套业务规则。沪伦通作为与发达资本市场的深度合作和制度创新,有利于夯实中英两国全面战略伙伴关系的经济基础,推动形成我国全面开放新格局。

走出去智库(CGGT) 观察到,沪伦通有望在今年底“通车”。10月12日,证监会正式发布《关于上海证券交易所与伦敦证券交易所互联互通存托凭证业务的监管规定(试行)》,意味着沪伦通筹备工作进入了“冲刺阶段”。沪伦通拟于今年年内正式启动交易,届时将出现上海和伦敦两地市场企业互挂首单。

中企在沪伦通有哪些投融资机会?今天,走出去智库(CGGT)刊发上海排名第一、全国领先的锦天城律师事务所高级合伙人于炳光律师的原创分析(中英文),供中国企业管理层参考。

要点

1、按照现行规定,沪伦通包括东、西两个业务方向,东向业务是指符合条件的伦交所上市公司以发行CDR(Chinese Depositary Receipt,中国存托凭证)的方式在上交所挂牌,西向业务是指符合要求的上交所A股上市公司以发行GDR(Global Depositary Receipt,全球存托凭证)的方式在伦交所挂牌。

2、沪伦通制度刚落地,两地上市公司已经跃跃欲试。华泰证券即将成为沪伦通落地后首家实现内地、香港和伦敦三地上市(A+H+GDR)的A股上市公司。

3、沪深港通是两地的投资者互相到对方市场直接买卖股票,“投资者”跨境,但产品仍在对方市场。而沪伦通是将对方市场的基础股票转换成DR到本地市场挂牌交易,“产品”跨境,但投资者仍在本地市场。

4、与其他证券交易所的股票相比,伦交所的股票在更广泛的司法辖区内被接受为收购货币,发行GDR将有助于我国公司进行跨境并购,降低融资成本。

正文

走 近 沪 伦 通

文/于炳光律师

上海市锦天城律师事务所高级合伙人

沪伦通,是上海证券交易所(上交所)与伦敦证券交易所(伦交所)之间互联互通机制的简称,指符合条件的两地上市公司,可以依照上市当地市场的法律法规要求,发行存托凭证(DR,Depositary Receipt)并在对方市场上市交易,同时通过存托凭证与基础证券之间的跨境转换机制安排,实现两地市场的互联互通。

一、从可行性研究到落地

2015年10月,在习近平主席访问英国及第七次中英经济财金对话中,作为对话成果之一,中英双方欢迎上交所与伦交所就沪伦两地市场互联互通问题开展可行性研讨,此后,中英双方就沪伦通的落地研究发布了相关适用规则和制度。

今年3月22日,国务院办公厅转发《证监会关于开展创新企业境内发行股票或存托凭证试点的若干意见》,为中国企业(特别是在海外上市的高科技创新企业)在境内发行存托凭证搭建了制度平台。

6月6日,证监会颁布《存托凭证发行与交易管理办法(试行)》以及相关配套文件,明确中国存托凭证的发行、交易和信息披露等要求,建设性地突破外国公司不能在中国大陆上市的法律制度,标志着中国资本市场的进一步开放。

7月10日,伦交所发布《关于修改<上市许可及披露标准>的征询意见通知》,就增加沪伦通章节和相应的修订内容征询意见。9月17日,伦交所发布修订后的《上市许可及披露标准》,在主板市场新增沪伦通板块并增加发行及披露要求,该准则已于2018年10月1日生效。

8月31日,证监会公告《上海证券交易所与伦敦证券交易所市场互联互通存托凭证业务监管规定(试行)(征求意见稿)》并于10月12日发布《上海证券交易所与伦敦证券交易所市场互联互通存托凭证业务监管规定(试行)》(简称“《监管规定》”),为两市互联互通,发行存托凭证提供了法律和制度依据。

10月12日,上交所就沪伦通相关制度发布征求意见稿,意见稿对存托凭证的上市交易、跨境转换、做市制度等业务做出具体规定,并于11月2日颁布了《上海证券交易所与伦敦证券交易所互联互通存托凭证上市交易暂行办法》等相关规则。

除上述规则以外,沪市上市公司发行GDR仍需遵守境内的《证券法》及《国务院关于股份有限公司境外募集股份及上市的特别规定》的相关要求,以及英国证券监管部门对GDR发行的相关规则,如英国金融监管部门(FCA, Financial Conduct Authority)颁布的《上市规则》(Listing Rules)、《招股说明书规则》(Prospectus Rules)。由于英国尚未完成脱欧,发行GDR还应遵守《上市公司透明度指令》(Transparency Directives)、《招股说明书指令》(Prospectus Directives)等欧盟指令及法规。

按照现行规定,沪伦通包括东、西两个业务方向,东向业务是指符合条件的伦交所上市公司以发行CDR(Chinese Depositary Receipt,中国存托凭证)的方式在上交所挂牌,西向业务是指符合要求的上交所A股上市公司以发行GDR(Global Depositary Receipt,全球存托凭证)的方式在伦交所挂牌。在目前起步阶段,存托凭证的基础证券仅限于股票,且东向业务暂不允许伦交所上市公司在上交所通过新增股份发行CDR的方式直接融资。上交所A股上市公司则可通过发行GDR的方式直接在伦交所融资。为稳步推进发行,初始阶段对存托凭证发行的总量和日交易量都有限制性的要求。符合条件的两地证券经营机构可以直接到对方市场开立证券和资金账户,并按照对方相关法律法规的要求,从事存托凭证跨境转换国际证券等业务。

伦交所和上交所目前已基本完成了两地上市公司通过沪伦通在对方市场发行存托凭证相关规则的制定。沪伦通制度刚落地,两地上市公司已经跃跃欲试。9月25日华泰证券发布公告称,将发行GDR并申请在伦敦交易所挂牌上市,拟募集不低于5亿美元的资金用于境内外业务发展及投资。这意味着华泰证券即将成为沪伦通落地后首家实现内地、香港和伦敦三地上市(A+H+GDR)的A股上市公司。除华泰证券以外,中国蓝星安迪苏也考虑发行GDR,融资约5亿美元。据统计,目前符合GDR发行条件的上交所上市公司还有224家。与此同时,伦交所上市公司也在积极筹备,据报道,汇丰银行(HSBC)将有可能成为首家在上交所发行CDR的外国公司。乐观预计,今年12月初首单沪伦通存托凭证将正式上市发行。

二、沪伦通与沪深港通及QFII和RQFII的区别

沪伦通是上海、伦敦两地满足一定条件的上市公司到对方市场上市交易存托凭证。投资者参与存托凭证交易结算的模式与股票类似,同时参照国际通行做法,沪伦通存托凭证与基础股票间可以相互转换。利用基础股票和存托凭证之间的相互转换机制,打通两地市场的交易。

沪深港通则是由交易所设立的证券交易服务公司将境内投资者的交易申报订单路由至境外交易所执行,并由两地证券登记结算机构分别为本地投资者提供名义持有人服务、代为持有境外证券并参与清算交收的互联互通模式。

更形象地说,沪深港通是两地的投资者互相到对方市场直接买卖股票,“投资者”跨境,但产品仍在对方市场。而沪伦通是将对方市场的基础股票转换成DR到本地市场挂牌交易,“产品”跨境,但投资者仍在本地市场。

QFII(Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors)指外国专业投资机构到境内投资的资格认定制度,它要求只有符合一定条件的外国投资者才能进入我国证券市场,经证监会、外管局等机构审批通过后汇入一定额度的外汇资金,并转换为人民币,通过严格监管的专门帐户投资我国证券市场。RQFII(RMB Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors)指人民币合格境外机构投资者,额度比QFII少,也称小QFII,是境外机构用人民币进行境内投资的制度。QFII和RQFII是在沪伦通之前,外国投资者可以参与到我国证券市场投资的主要途径。

QFII和RQFII与沪伦通的区别在于前者是境外机构投资者到境内投资的资格认定制度,而后者是允许符合条件的上市公司到对方交易所发行存托凭证,是实现股票跨境交易的制度。

三、存托凭证发行、跨境转换及投资者保护

《监管规定》等现行法规及上交所就沪伦通交易制度公布的相关规则对沪伦通机制下发行人的要求、相关机构的职能及投资者保护做出了相应安排。

东向业务发行CDRs

⊙发行申请日前120个交易日按基础股票收盘价计算的境外发行人平均市值不低于人民币200亿元,且在伦交所上市满3年且主板高级上市满1年的伦交所上市公司,申请上市的中国存托凭证数量不少于5000万份且市值不少于人民币5亿元,经证监会和上交所审核通过,可以发行CDR。同时,境外发行人应当在境内设立证券事务机构,聘任信息披露的境内代表,负责办理中国存托凭证上市期间的信息披露和监管联络;

境外发行人应披露年度报告和中期报告,并披露达到一定金额标准的重大交易和关联交易,以及重大诉讼、重大对外担保等可能影响境外发行人基础股票价格的其他事项;

境外发行人申请中国存托凭证首次在上交所上市,应当聘请国内符合要求的保荐人及律师事务所、会计师事务所等证券服务机构提供相关服务等。

●西向业务发行GDRs

公开已获得英国上市主管部门(UKLA,英国金融监管部门(FCA)的组成部分)批准的招股说明书;关于发行人存托凭证进入正式清单(Official List)的申请已得到英国上市主管部门(UKLA)批准;发行人的股票必须在上交所主板上市;发行人上市时总市值不少于200亿人民币。

上交所公司以其新增股票为基础证券在境外发行存托凭证的,境内上市公司在境外发行上市的存托凭证在存续期内的份额数量不得超过中国证监会核准的数量上限,发行价格按比例换算后原则上不得低于定价基准日前20个交易日基础股票收盘价均价的90%。境内上市公司在境外首次公开发行的存托凭证自上市之日起120日内不得转换为境内基础股票。境内上市公司控股股东、实际控制人及其控制的企业认购的存托凭证自上市之日起36个月内不得转让;

虽然境外机构可以购买A股上市公司的股票,但除境外投资者依法对境内上市公司战略投资外,单个境外投资者持有单一境内上市公司权益的比例不得超过该公司股份总数的10%,境外投资者持有单一境内上市公司A股权益的比例合计不得超过该公司股份总数的30%;

年报披露义务、对股价敏感信息的披露义务。如果发行人在上交所的上市状态发生任何变化(包括但不限于停牌、退市或受到任何关于上市的纪律性处分)应立即通知伦交所;

发行人应当遵守伦交所《上市许可及披露标准》第四条的持续合规义务。发行人还应遵守欧盟《市场滥用监管条例》(Market Abuse Regulation)中就内幕信息的披露要求、对履行管理职责人士及其关联人士相关交易的披露要求以及特定期间的交易行为限制等。

●跨境转换

符合条件的中国证券登记结算有限责任公司及其子公司、经国务院银行业监督管理机构批准的商业银行和证券公司可以担任存托人,存托人根据相关规定和存托协议约定向境内证券公司或者投资者签发相应的存托凭证。存托凭证上市交易后,符合条件的境内证券公司可以按规定向存托人申请将境外基础股票转换为存托凭证或者申请将存托凭证转换为相应的境外基础股票等。

●投资者保护

合格投资者限于机构投资者和申请权限开通前20个交易日证券账户及资金账户内的资产日均不低于人民币300万元的个人投资者;

明确发行人法律责任,要求境外基础证券发行人应当依法参与CDR发行,依法履行发行人、上市公司的义务,承担相应的法律责任;

确保基础财产安全,要求存托人为存托凭证基础财产单独立户,将存托凭证基础财产与其自有财产有效隔离,分别管理、分别记账,不得将存托凭证基础财产归入其自有财产,不得侵占、挪用存托凭证基础财产;

保护境内投资者知情权,明确信息披露安排,要求境外基础证券发行人在中国境内设立证券事务机构,聘任熟悉境内信息披露规定和要求的信息披露境内代表,负责办理沪伦通下CDR上市期间的信息披露和监管联络事宜,建立与境内投资者、监管机构及上交所的有效沟通渠道,保护境内投资者的知情权;

建立纠纷调解机制,要求存托协议明确约定因存托凭证发生的纠纷适用中国法律,由境内法院管辖。当沪伦通下CDR投资者权利受到侵害时,境内投资者可以依据相关法律法规的规定和存托协议的约定,在境内法院向基础证券发行人提起证券诉讼;或可以根据仲裁协议约定,向具有管辖权的仲裁机构申请仲裁。

四、机遇与挑战并存

脱欧公投事件后,各界对英国及伦敦是否能够继续保持国际金融中心地位一直持有观望态度,但事实表明,自2016年6月23日脱欧公投至今,英国的时区优势、法律优势、人才优势、语言优势、制度优势、文化优势、经济优势和服务优势并未因此发生实质性改变,伦敦仍然是国际金融中心,一直保持着世界第一的外汇交易中心地位。环球同业银行金融电讯协会(SWIFT,Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications)发布的报告显示,今年第一季度,39%的离岸人民币外汇交易通过伦敦完成,香港位居第二(27%),美国、法国、新加坡紧随其后。

伦敦也是全球最大的人民币离岸外汇交易中心,伦敦金融城和中国人民银行欧洲代表处9月26日联合发布的首份《伦敦人民币业务季报》显示,今年二季度人民币日均交易额达到690亿英镑,环比增长13.54%,同比增长32.85%。伦敦也是仅次于香港的全球第二大人民币离岸清算中心,首季清算量占到全球人民币清算量的5.94%。依照相关规则,GDR可以人民币计价发行交易,这将加速人民币国际化的进程。

9月25日,中国建设银行成功在伦交所发行10亿美元可持续发展债券。这是建行第一次发行可持续发展债券,也是中资机构首次发行美元可持续发展债券。伦交所发布的数据显示,建行可持续发展债券发行后反响热烈,吸引了众多国际机构投资者认购,其中美元债券投资者85%来自亚洲,15%来自欧洲、中东及其他国家和地区。随着中英关系的持续升温,沪伦通的落地,伦交所将成为中国企业进行跨国融资业务的重要合作伙伴。

与其他证券交易所的股票相比,伦交所的股票在更广泛的司法辖区内被接受为收购货币,发行GDR将有助于我国公司进行跨境并购,降低融资成本。同时,伦交所具有无与伦比的GDR生态系统。据统计,目前有来自中国、俄罗斯、日本、韩国、印度等30多个不同国家和地区的140多家企业分别在伦交所的主板市场(Main Market)、高增长市场(AIM,Alternative Investment Market)、专业证券市场(Professional Securities Market)、多边交易机制(MTF,Multilateral Trading Facility)的仅供交易市场(Admission to Trading Only)共计发行245只GDR,涵盖科技、金融、公共事业、健康护理、建筑/材料、保险、基础资源、工业产品/服务、电信、油气、商品消费、服务消费等行业领域。加入这个全球最国际化的股票市场,伦交所全面的发行人服务将有助于A 股上市公司与高质量的机构投资者和卖方研究机构建立新型的良好关系,使其获得更广泛的更国际化的品牌认知。同时中国证监会(CSRC)也支持A股上市公司从境外资本市场融资,开展跨国融资和并购实现走出去。A股蓝筹公司目前已在估值的历史低点,显现出长期投资价值,沪伦通更为外国投资者投资A股提供了新的渠道。

与此同时,中国是全球第二大、增长速度最快的市场,两市相通给伦交所公司提供了进入高流动(中国大陆日均交易量是伦交所的8倍)、高估值市场的机会,能够使其先于同行业其他国家的上市公司与全球增长最快的资产管理机构开展合作并获得高质量的中国投资者(根据最新统计,中国的高净值人士数量目前全球排名第二),同时在中国市场扩大其客户群体,提升品牌知名度。

世界上最具潜力的市场和最国际化的市场实现互联互通、高效结合,使中英形成充满活力的金融生态系统,并让发行人、银行、经纪人、资产管理人和专业服务公司充分参与其中。但我们同时也应该看到,中英两地在交易时间和时差、专业技术、监管和交易机制、法律法规、外汇管制、投资者构成及文化方面仍存在很多差异,顺畅推进沪伦通仍需相关各方在配套制度完善、投资人教育、提高中介机构服务质量等方面共同努力。

English version

Approaching Shanghai-London Stock Connect

By Bing-guang YU

Shanghai-London Stock Connect is the abbreviation for the connectivity mechanism between the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE). It refers to the arrangement where eligible companies listed on the two venues can issue depositary receipts (DRs), list and trade them on the other side's market according to local market’s laws and regulations. Meanwhile, through a cross-border conversion mechanism between depositary receipts and underlying securities, the connectivity of the two markets to be realized.

I. A journey from feasibility study to launch

Based on the results of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the UK in October 2015 and the Seventh China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue, both the Chinese and British sides welcomed the feasibility studies conducted by the SSE and the LSE on the connectivity between the two markets in Shanghai and London. Since then the Chinese and British sides have studied and issued applicable rules and regulations for the launch of Shanghai-London Stock Connect.

On March 22 this year, the General Office of the State Council forwarded the Opinions of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) on Launching Pilot Projects for the Domestic Issuance of Shares or Depositary Receipts by Innovative Enterprises, which built up a platform of rules for issuing depositary receipts domestically by Chinese companies, especially for those high-tech innovative enterprises listed overseas.

On June 6, the CSRC promulgated the Administrative Measures for the Issuance and Trading of Depositary Receipts (for Trial Implementation) and related supporting documents, clarifying the requirements for the issuance, trading and information disclosure of Chinese Depositary Receipts. The promulgation of the aforesaid measures constructively broke through the legal system which forbids foreign companies from listing in mainland China, and this represents a further opening up of China's capital market.

On July 10, the LSE announced Consultation on Amendments to the Admission and Disclosure Standards, soliciting advice on the addition of the Shanghai-London Stock Connect Segment and other associated revisions. On September 17, the LSE issued the amended Admission and Disclosure Standards, adding the Shanghai-London Stock Connect Segment to the Main Market and corresponding issuance and disclosure requirements. The Standards came into effect on October 1, 2018.

On August 31, the CSRC announced the Notice on Public Consultation for the Provisions on the Supervision and Administration of Depository Receipts under the Stock Connect Scheme between Shanghai Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange (for trial implementation) and on October 12, issued Provisions on the Supervision and Administration of Depository Receipts under the Stock Connect Scheme between Shanghai Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange (for trial implementation) (referred to as the Supervision and Administration Provisions), providing a legal and institutional basis for the connectivity of the two markets and issuance of depositary receipts.

On October 12, the SSE published its consultation on the relevant systems of Shanghai-London Stock Connect. These drafts set forth specific provisions on the listing process, cross-border conversion and the market making system for depositary receipts. On November 2, the SSE promulgated the Interim Measures for the Listing and Trading of Depositary Receipts under the Stock Connect Scheme between Shanghai Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange and other relevant regulations.

In addition to complying with the above-mentioned rules, an SSE-listed company issuing GDRs are still subject to the related requirements of Securities Law and Special Regulations of the State Council Concerning Floating and Listing of Shares Overseas by Companies Limited by Shares, and the relevant rules of the GDR issuance promulgated by the UK securities regulatory authorities, such as Listing Rules and Prospectus Rules promulgated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Since the UK has not yet left the EU, the issuance of GDRs continues to comply with EU Directives and Regulations, such as the Transparency and Prospectus Directives.

According to the prevailing rules, Shanghai-London Stock Connect includes a two-direction business, eastbound and westbound. The eastbound direction consists of LSE-listed companies listing Chinese Depositary Receipts (CDRs) on the SSE. In the westbound direction, the A-share companies listed on the SSE list Global Depositary Receipts (GDRs) on the LSE. At the initial stage, the underlying securities of the DRs are limited to stocks only. The eastbound direction will not allow LSE-listed companies to conduct direct financing in China's domestic market by issuing new shares in the form of CDRs at current juncture. The A-share companies listed on the SSE can conduct direct financing in the UK market by issuing GDRs. To steadily promote the issuance of the DRs, limitations will be initially placed on the total volume of depository receipts that can be issued and that of the daily trading volume. Qualified securities trading institutions on both sides may directly open securities and fund accounts in the market of the other side and engage in cross-border depositary receipt conversion business provided they abide by the applicable rules and regulations.

The LSE and the SSE have by now almost completed the formulation of applicable rules and regulations for eligible companies to list DRs on each other's market. With the launching of the Shanghai-London Stock Connect mechanism, the listed companies in the two countries are already at concert pitch.On September 25, Huatai Securities announced that it will issue GDRs and apply for listing on the LSE. It plans to raise no less than US$500 million for its domestic and overseas business development and investment.Upon the launch of Shanghai-London Stock Connect, Huatai Securities will become the first A-share company to be listed on three venues: Mainland China, Hong Kong and London (A+H+GDR). Apart from Huatai Securities, China’s Bluestar Adisseo is also considering issuing GDRs to raise about US$500 million. According to statistics, there are still about 224 SSE-listed companies eligible for issuing GDRs. Parallelly, LSE-listed companies are also actively preparing, and it is reported that HSBC might become the first foreign company to issue CDRs on the SSE. An optimistic forecast is that the first issuance of DRs under Shanghai-London Stock Connect will take place in early December this year.

II. Comparison between Shanghai-London Stock Connect and Shanghai-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect, QFII and RQFII

Shanghai-London Stock Connect is a mechanism under which listed companies in Shanghai and London, satisfying certain conditions, can list and trade their depositary receipts in the market on the other side. Trading and settlement of the depositary receipts is similar to that for stocks. In addition, with reference to international practices, the depositary receipts and the underlying stocks can be converted into each other in Shanghai-London Stock Connect. With the mutual conversion mechanism between the underlying stocks and the depositary receipts, the trading in the two markets will be connected, as such achieve cross border fungibility.

Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect and Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect is a connectivity model, in which the trading orders placed by domestic investors are routed by the securities trading service companies established by the exchanges to the overseas exchanges for execution. The securities registration and settlement institutions on both sides provide the local investors with nominal holder service, hold the overseas securities as a representative and participate in clearing and settlement.

Simply put, in Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect and Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect, the investors on both sides directly buy and sell stocks in the market on the other side, with the "investors" crossing the border but the products still remaining in their home market. However, in Shanghai-London Stock Connect, the depositary receipts are converted from the stocks in the opposite market and then listed and traded in the local market, with the "products" crossing the border but the investors still remaining in the local market.

QFII (Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors) refers to the qualification accreditation system for foreign professional investment institutions to invest in China. According to current regulations, the foreign investors who meet certain conditions is qualified to invest in China’s capital market and contribute a certain amount of foreign exchange funds to its account after the approval of the CSRC and the SAFE, and invest in China's securities market through a special account under strict supervision. RQFII (RMB Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors) refers to RMB qualified foreign institutional investors, which is also known as ‘little QFII’ as the approved investment quota is much less than that of QFII. RQFII is a system for overseas institutions to invest in China with RMB. Both QFII and RQFII are the primary ways for foreign investors to participate in China's securities market prior to the launch of Shanghai-London Stock Connect.

The difference between QFII/RQFII and Shanghai-London Stock Connect is that the former is a qualification accreditation system for foreign institutional investors to invest in China, while the latter allows eligible listed companies to issue depositary receipts in the other side’s market, a system under which cross-border stock transactions are realized.

III. Depositary receipts issuance, Cross-border conversion and Investor protection

The current regulations such as the Supervision and Administration Provisions and the relevant rules on the Shanghai-London Stock Connect trading system issued by the SSE have made corresponding arrangements for the requirements of the issuers, the functions of relevant institutions and investor protection.

●Issuing CDRs on eastbound business

Approved by the CSRC and the SSE, a LSE-listed company meeting the following conditions is entitled to issue CDRs: a) having an average market capitalization of no less than RMB 20 billion, per the closing price of the underlying shares, over the 120 trading days prior to the offering application date; b) listed on the LSE for at least 3 years and have obtained the premium listing for at least 1 year; and c) seeking the listing of no less than 50 million units of CDRs with a market value of no less than RMB500 million. At the same time, an overseas issuer shall establish a securities affairs office in mainland China and engage domestic representatives for information disclosure, who will be responsible for the information disclosure and regulatory communications in connection with the listing of the CDR.

The overseas issuer shall disclose the annual report and the semi-annual report and disclose major transactions and related party transactions that reach a certain amount, as well as other matters such as major lawsuits and major external guarantees that may affect the trading price of the underlying shares of overseas issuers.

When applying for the initial listing of CDRs on the SSE, the overseas issuer shall appoint a qualified domestic sponsor and qualified domestic securities service providers such as law firms and accounting firms to provide relevant services.

●Issuing GDRs on westbound business

a) an issuer must have published a prospectus that has been approved by the UKLA (part of FCA); b) the issuer’s application to admit depositary receipts to the Official List must have been approved by UKLA; c) the issuer’s stocks must be listed on the Main Board Market of the Shanghai Stock Exchange; and d) at admission the market capitalization of the applicant must be equal to or above RMB 20 billion.

Where the SSE-listed companies offer GDRs representing newly-issued shares, the number of outstanding GDRs shall not exceed the amount cap approved by the CSRC and the offering price of GDRs after pro-rata conversion shall, in principle, not be lower than 90% of the average price of the underlying shares in 20 transaction days prior to the benchmark date of pricing. The GDRs which are initially and publicly offered by domestic listed companies shall not be converted into domestic underlying shares within 120 days as of the listing date. The GDRs subscribed to and held by the listed company’s controlling shareholder, actual controller and entities under its control shall not be transferred within 36 months as of the listing date.

Although overseas institutions can purchase shares of A-share listed companies, equities of a single listed company held by one overseas investor shall not exceed 10% of the total shares of the company. The aggregate A-shares holdings by all overseas investors in a listed company shall not exceed 30% of the total outstanding shares of the company. Overseas investors' strategic investments in listed companies abiding by the law shall not be bound by the aforesaid limits.

The disclosure obligation of annual report and share-pricing sensitive information. An issuer must inform the LSE immediately if there is any change in the status of its listing on the Main Board Market of the SSE (including suspension or cancellation of the listing, or any disciplinary action in relation to its listing).

An issuer shall perform the continuing obligations in Section 4 of Admission and Disclosure Standards issued by the LSE. An issuer must also have regard to the disclosure requirements of the insider information, transactions related to the performance of management duties and their related parties, and restrictions on trading behavior during specific periods stipulated in the EU Market Abuse Regulation.

●Cross-border conversion

Ø Qualified China Securities Depositary and Clearing Corporation Limited and its subsidiaries, Commercial banks approved by the banking regulator of the State Council, and Securities companies may act as a depositary. The depository shall issue corresponding depository receipts to the domestic securities companies or investors in accordance with applicable rules and depository agreement. After the listing of DRs, qualified domestic securities companies engaging in cross-border conversion business may instruct the depository to convert the overseas underlying shares into CDRs or to convert the CDRs into corresponding overseas underlying shares.

● Investor protection

Eligible investors are institutional investors and individual investors satisfying the condition that the daily average value of assets in her/his securities account and funds account over the 20 trading days prior to applying for trading CDRs is no less than RMB 3 million.

⊙The issuers' legal responsibilities are stipulated. The overseas issuers of the underlying securities are required to participate in the CDR issuance, fulfill the obligations of the issuer and the listed company in accordance with the law and bear the corresponding legal responsibilities.

The security of the underlying assets of the depositary receipts is ensured. The depositaries are required to open individual accounts for the underlying assets of the depositary receipts, which effectively separates the underlying assets of the depositary receipts from their own assets. The depositaries also cannot classify the underlying assets of the depositary receipts as their own assets and cannot encroach on or embezzle the underlying assets of the depositary receipts.

The domestic investors' right to know is protected. The overseas issuers of the underlying securities are required to establish securities affairs institutions within the territory of China, employ domestic representatives for information disclosure who are familiar with China's rules and requirements for information disclosure and shall be responsible for information disclosure and regulatory liaison during the listing of the CDRs under the Shanghai-London Stock Connect mechanism, set up the channels for effective communication with investors, regulators and the SSE, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of domestic investors in accordance with the rules.

A dispute mediation mechanism is established. The depositary agreement is required to expressly stipulate that the disputes arising from the depositary receipts shall be governed by Chinese laws and shall be under the jurisdiction of the domestic courts. When the rights of CDR investors under the Shanghai-London Stock Connect mechanism are infringed, the domestic investors may file securities lawsuits at the domestic courts against the issuers of the underlying securities in accordance with the provisions of relevant laws and regulations as well as the depositary agreement; or, according to the arbitration agreement, they may apply to an arbitration institution with jurisdiction for arbitration.

IV. Opportunities and Challenges are Co-existing

Following the Brexit referendum, people from all walks of life have been holding a wait-and-see attitude on whether the UK and London will continue to maintain its status as an international financial center. However, the facts show that since the referendum on June 23, 2016, the UK's time zone advantages, legal advantages, talents advantages, language advantages, institutional advantages, cultural advantages, economic advantages and service advantages have not been changed substantially. London is still an international financial center and has always maintained its position as the world's number one foreign exchange trading center. According to a report released by SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications), 39% of offshore renminbi (RMB) foreign exchange transactions were completed in London in the first quarter of this year, Hong Kong ranked second (27%), the US, France and Singapore followed behind.

London is also the world's largest offshore RMB foreign exchange trading center. The first London RMB Business Quarterly Report jointly released by the City of London and the People's Bank of China in Europe on September 26 shows that the average daily trading volume of RMB in the second quarter of this year reached GBP69 billion, an increase of 13.54% from the previous quarter and a 32.85% rise year-on-year. London is also the second largest offshore RMB clearing center in the world after Hong Kong. The liquidation in the first quarter accounted for 5.94% of the global RMB liquidation. As per relevant rules, GDRs can be issued and traded in RMB, which will accelerate the process of RMB internationalization.

On September 25, China Construction Bank (CCB) successfully issued US$1 billion sustainable development bonds on the London Stock Exchange. This is the first time that CCB has issued sustainable development bonds, and it is also the first time that a Chinese-funded institution has issued US dollar sustainable development bonds. According to data released by the LSE, CCB's sustainable development bonds have received an enthusiastic response and attracted many international institutional investors. Among them, 85% of the allocation were from Asia, and 15% were from Europe, the Middle East and other countries and regions. As the Sino-British relationship continues to heat up and we approach the launch of Shanghai-London Stock Connect, the LSE will become an important partner for Chinese companies who wish to conduct cross-border financing.

Issuing GDRs bolsters A-share listed companies’ efforts in cross-border mergers and acquisitions and reduces financing costs because London-listed shares are accepted in more jurisdictions as acquisition currency than any other exchange. The LSE is also home to an unrivalled GDR ecosystem, and according to statistics, there are a total of 245 GDRs currently issued by more than 140 companies from more than 30 different countries and regions including China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, India, etc. on the Main Market, Alternative Investment Market (AIM), Professional Securities Market, the ‘Admission to Trading Only’ MTF (Multilateral Trading Facility) of the LSE, covering technology, finance, utilities, health care, construction/materials, insurance, basic resources, industrial products/services, telecommunication, oil, gas and other industry sectors. Joining the world’s most internationalized stock market, the LSE’s complete Issuer Services offering will help the A-share listed company to shape new relationships with high-quality institutional investors and sell-side research institutions and enable them to gain broader and much more internationalized brand recognition. At the same time, The CSRC also supports A-share listed companies in raising funds from overseas capital markets, carrying out cross-border financing and M&A to achieve Going Out. A-share blue chip companies have now shown long-term investment value with valuations at historical lows. Shanghai-London Stock Connect will provide new channels for foreign investors to invest in the A-share market.

Meanwhile, China is the second largest and the fastest-growing market globally. The Stock Connect offers LSE-listed companies a unique opportunity to access a high trading volume (average total mainland Chinese daily trading volume is eight times that of the LSE) and high valuation market, collaborate with the world's fastest-growing asset management institutions and attract high-quality Chinese investors (according to the latest statistics, the number of high-net-worth individuals in China now ranks second in the world), which are already one step ahead of the listed companies of the same industry in other countries. Furthermore, the Stock Connect will help LSE-listed companies to expand their customer base and improve their brand recognition in the Chinese market.

The connection and efficient integration between the market with the greatest potential and the most internationalized market will lead to a vibrant UK-China financial ecosystem in each country and enable issuers, banks, brokers, asset managers and professional services firms to participate fully in the Connect. However, we should also realize that there are still many differences between China and the UK in terms of trading hours and time zone, professional technology, supervision and trading mechanism, laws and regulations, foreign exchange control, investor composition and culture. To ensure a smooth launch of the Shanghai-London Stock Connect, this requires all the relevant parties to work hard collectively and complete the supporting mechanisms, educate investors and improve the quality of intermediary services.

延展阅读

跨境融资政策 | 教育股为何闪崩?VIE境外上市最新监管政策的变化与运用

香港IPO新政|林郑月娥亲邀阿里巴巴赴港上市,香港上市新规详析

境外IPO实务|赴港美英澳上市最新要求及费用对比分析

专家介绍

于炳光

于炳光律师是锦天城律师事务所高级合伙人,主要在上海办公室工作,为锦天城伦敦分所常驻代表。

于律师专注资本市场法律服务,在境内外上市、并购、基金、外商投资等法律服务领域实务经验丰富,包括新设公司、境内外并购、改制和资产重组、境内外首发上市、资产证券化、私募融资及基金相关的法律服务。于律师担任多家公司的常年或专项法律顾问,被走出去智库(CGGT)、上海国资、辽宁商会等知名机构特聘为资深法律专家顾问。

于律师先后就读于英国伦敦威斯敏斯特大学并获得中英双语翻译硕士、英国伦敦大学(UCL)获得国际商法及公司法法学硕士。

于律师发表的部分作品包括:

-《双语翻译及法律英文写作》

-《外商投资企业劳动管理实务》

-《银团贷款法律问题剖析》

-《项目融资及其风险分析》

-《英国AIM高增长市场,国内中小企业上市的理想选择》

-《赴港美英澳上市最新要求及费用对比分析》

-《一带一路投资之法律风险防范之英国》

-《林郑月娥亲邀阿里巴巴赴港上市,香港上市新规详析》

-《VIE境外上市最新监管政策的变化与运用》

工作语言为中文和英文。

Bingguang YU

Mr. Bingguang YU is a Senior Partner of AllBright Law Offices, based in Shanghai Headquarter.He is also a permanent representative of AllBright Law Offices (London) Limited.

Mr. Yu has rich experience on providing capital market legal services, such as IPO, M&A, funds, PE financing, FDI etc.

Mr. Yu has provided legal services for dozens of Chinese and foreign businesses in terms of investment and financing, establishment of new companies, inbound and outbound M&As, restructuring and asset restructuring, domestic and overseas IPOs, Asset-backed Securitizations, PE financing and funds-related legal services. Mr. Yu was engaged as permanent and/or project legal counsel for many companies. He was also invited to act as senior expert legal counsel by many renowned institutions, such as CGGT (China Going Global Think Tank), Shanghai State-owned Assets Journal and The Chamber of Commerce of Liaoning Province etc.

Mr. Yu graduated from the University of Westminster and obtained his MA Degree in Bilingual Translation, furthered his studies in the University College London and obtained his LLM Degree in International Commercial Law and Corporation Law.

Some of the works published by Mr. Yu including:

Bilingual Translation and Legal Writing

Labor Management of Foreign-invested Enterprises

Analysis on Legal Issues in Syndicated Loans

Project Finance and Risk Analysis

London AIM, an Ideal Listing Place for Chinese Small&Medium-Sized Enterprises

Comparison and Analysis on Costs and Latest Requirements on IPOs in Hongkong, USA, UK and Australia

Legal Risk Prevention Along the Belt and Road Countries for Investment in the UK

Detailed Analysis on the New Listing Rules of Hongkong

The Updated Changes and Application of Supervision and Administration Policies for VIE Overseas Listing

Mr. Yu is fluent in both English and Chinese language.

机构简介

上海市锦天城律师事务所

锦天城律师事务所(“锦天城”)成立于1999年,总部设在中国上海,是一家提供全方位法律服务的、在业内享有盛誉和领先地位的中国律师事务所。锦天城已在中国大陆二十一个大城市及中国香港和英国伦敦开设分所,并在香港、深圳前海与史蒂文生黄律师事务所联营。锦天城致力于在瞬息万变的商业环境中为境内外客户制定法律解决方案并提供法律服务。

荣誉:

锦天城多次被中国司法部、地方司法局、律师协会以及国际知名法律媒体和权威评级机构列为中国最顶尖的法律服务提供者之一,位居全国十大品牌律师事务所前列。

锦天城多次获得中华全国律师协会颁发的“全国优秀律师事务所”荣誉称号、上海市律师协会颁发的“上海市优秀律师事务所”、上海市司法局授予的“上海市司法行政系统先进集体”等荣誉。锦天城多位合伙人曾获得“上海领军人才”、“全国优秀律师”等法律界个人荣誉称号。

钱伯斯法律评级机构(Chambers and Partners)近期连续三年授予锦天城 “领先的中国律师事务所”证书,并在多个领域(公司商事、收购兼并、私募基金/风险投资、资本市场、银行与金融、国际贸易、争议解决、知识产权及税务等各主要领域)均给予本所各领域相关律师个人优良的评级。

《法律500强》(Legal 500)在《中国商业律师事务所指南》中评价锦天城是一家在外商直接投资、公司和商业法律领域顶尖的上海律师事务所,是“其他律师事务所希望成为的公司和商业律师事务所”。 近年来锦天城被评选为Legal500 Asia Pacific中国银行及金融、资本市场、公司商事及兼并收购、争议解决和税务领域杰出律所之一。

《国际金融法1000强杂志/亚洲领先律师年鉴》(IFLR 1000 / AsiaLaw Profile)多年来多次在多个主要领域(收购兼并、私募基金/风险投资、资本市场、以及银行金融等)给予锦天城“第一流”(1st Tier)等优良评级。锦天城许多合伙人在该杂志与年鉴中被列为相关领域的领先律师。

《亚洲法律事务》(ALB)在其每年举办的“中国法律年度大奖”中多次授予锦天城重大奖项和提名。近几年来,锦天城所获奖项和提名包括“中国律师事务所大奖”、“上海律师事务所大奖”、“年度最佳中国公司法务”、 “年度最佳兼并与收购律师事务所”、 “年度最佳争端解决律师事务所”、“年度最佳银行业律师事务所”等综合性奖项和各主要业务领域奖项。此外,锦天城曾获得多次“中国律师事务所最佳雇主”称号。

《中国商法杂志》 2016年事务所蝉联“年度卓越律所(上海)”大奖,并一举揽获“反腐败及合规”、“银行及金融”、“破产及重组”、“娱乐及体育产业”四项大奖。

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