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Bangkok Post
Bangkok Post

SEC promises to improve listing criteria for local stocks

Logo of the Securities and Exchange Commission

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is preparing to review the criteria for companies to list on Thai bourses as part of the response to suspicious stock trades of MAI-listed More Return Plc (MORE).

The SEC vowed to improve the listing criteria, which currently require companies to have three consecutive years of profit to qualify for listing on local stock exchanges.

The rules for backdoor listings must also be upgraded to the same stringent level as normal initial public offerings, said the regulator.

An indirect listing on the stock exchange, a backdoor listing refers to a listed company acquiring assets or shares of another company that appear to be larger than the original assets of the listed company.

This results in a change in control of the listed company. Then the acquired company can be listed without having to go through the consideration of the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET), according to the qualification criteria for listed companies.

Jomkwan Kongsakul, assistant secretary-general of the SEC, said as MORE is under investigation, the regulator believes long-standing securities acceptance criteria should be reviewed and updated.

The SEC discussed the matter with the SET and both sides agreed in principle. More details have to be finalised at the next discussion, including receiving feedback from market stakeholders before an announcement can be made and a new criteria becomes effective, she said.

Shares of MORE were suspended from trade on Monday after the SET noticed suspicious trading of its shares on Nov 10-11.

Relevant authorities including the Anti-Money Laundering Office have joined hands in investigating the trades, which caused estimated damage of more than 4.3 billion baht to several brokers.

The SEC cautioned investors on Thursday to listen to advice from an independent financial advisor (IFA) for stocks they invest in and study the recommendations for their own benefit.

MORE president and chief executive Ummarit Klomchitcharoen requested a waiver from making a tender offer for all securities of its business based on a resolution from the shareholders' meeting and connected transactions.

The IFA recommended shareholders should not vote for approval.

There was also an observation regarding the abnormality of MORE's share price, which had an impact on the capital increase offering and the shareholders who would exercise their voting rights at the shareholders' meeting, including the necessity of the capital increase. This event is still under investigation.

The IFA noted that the shareholders who voted at the shareholders' meeting may not reflect the opinion of current shareholders who were affected by recent events.

The SET continues to request MORE's board of directors provide clarification and information about the suspicious transactions, submitting relevant documents within seven days from Nov 17, along with information disclosure through the bourse's information system.

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