TASE ups IPO minimums

Companies planning to list on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange will have to sell 25 percent more shares in their initial public offerings, according to new TASE regulations aimed at improving standards and fairness in trading. "As maintenance has risen, in accordance, we decided to modify IPO regulations," Ronit Harel Ben-Zeev, TASE vice president told The Jerusalem Post. Small initial public offerings also were problematic from the point of view of trading, Ben-Zeev added. "Raising the minimum will reduce the number of very small companies trading on the exchange." According to the new rules, companies making an IPO will have to raise a minimum of NIS 20 million in shares, compared with the NIS 16m. required since September last year, when the minimum was doubled from NIS 8m. Further, companies would be required to have capital of at least NIS 25m. after the initial offering, compared with the NIS 16m. requirement now in effect. At the same time, the exchange will no longer demand the registration of capital by companies preceding an offering. The new criteria would not apply to research & development companies. Over the past two years, the TASE has seen about 50 new company listings, of which seven have been registered this year. "Nearly all of the companies except for one would have been in accordance with the new criteria," Ben-Zeev said. In addition, the TASE announced plans to launch of the Tel-Div 20 index, a new index for companies that pay out dividends. The Tel-Div index, which will be in operation from July 1, will consist of 20 companies from the TA-100 index. With the introduction, the TASE is following the likes of other global stock exchanges such as the German DAX or the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the US, which already have similar indexes. "More and more institutional and other investors are placing a lot of importance to the criteria on whether companies pay out dividends or not. Therefore we decided to differentiate those companies which report dividends," said Ben-Zeev.