Coronavirus – Listed Companies' Information Obligations

Author:Mr Jérôme Brosset and Gwendoline Hong Tuan Ha
Profession:August Debouzy

Apart from its human aspects, the effect of the current coronavirus epidemic has been the closure of certain business areas, resulting in changes to levels of production and consumption which then affect many business sectors such as tourism, luxury goods and transport.

Against this background, the French Financial Markets Authority ("AMF") published a press release on 28 February 2020 in which it reminded issuers of their ongoing information obligations, more specifically relating to their exposure to the impacts of this epidemic1.

It will be recalled that the Market Abuse Regulation2 requires issuers (whether listed on a regulated market or on a multilateral trading facility) to publish any inside information concerning them, that is to say any specific, non-public, price-sensitive information concerning their share price, as soon as possible.

Thus, issuers who already have in their possession specific information on the impact on their business of the coronavirus epidemic must publish it in the form of a press release without delay, and it should be noted that the fact that such inside information is due to be published in the form of periodical information shortly thereafter does not absolve issuers of their obligation to publish it as soon as possible. The possibility of delaying such publication must be used with care because it only exists if certain cumulative conditions are met, including the requirement that the delay must not have the effect of misleading the public3.

In general, the AMF asks issuers to publish information on the impact of the epidemic on their business, their performance or their prospects when presenting their annual results. When doing so, issuers publishing guidance for the market on their anticipated business prospects and...

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