Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Pipe down on listed companies' affairs, Cabinet Office says

Pipe down on listed companies' affairs, Cabinet Office tells Ministers

By Paul McBeth

Jan. 7 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's ministers and officials have been given a new set of rules outlining how they can talk about listed companies as the government gets ready to kick off its partial privatisation programme this year.

Public service bosses, government ministers and their staff, and state sector spin doctors and legal teams have been told they need to treat information about public companies with caution and need to take care when commenting about listed firms even when they don't have any inside information. That includes telling ministers to be wary of making any comment to media about a listed company, and to steer clear from talking about share prices.

"Ministers should focus comments on government policy rather than commenting on the value of particular securities or the prospects of a particular public issuer," acting Cabinet Secretary Michael Webster says in the note.

"A minister should never directly or indirectly encourage or advise people to buy, sell or hold the securities of a public issuer and must take care to ensure that comments cannot be interpreted or perceived as false or misleading," he said.

The how-to note comes as the government prepares for a final showdown with the Maori Council in the Supreme Court over its decision to proceed with partial privatisations of state-owned energy companies via floats on the New Zealand Stock Exchange.

Government regulators have often worn the ire of investors who say an activist agency can unfairly destroy shareholder value, and the Commerce Commission's recent flagging of new price controls of listed telecommunications network operator Chorus prompted outrage when it shaved a fifth from its share price.

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet issued the new guidelines for dealing with inside information about public issuers on Dec. 20, firming up rules from a 10-year old Cabinet Office circular.

The rationale for the new circular is to ensure the government sticks to its policy to "maintain confidence and inform market participation," which can be eroded if information isn't released in a "fair, orderly and transparent manner" which treats all investors fairly, the circular said.

DPMC's guidance note sets out how ministers and officials should talk publicly about listed companies, stressing the importance of making any market-moving decision outside of trading hours.

Ministers should only make a major statement that could affect a listed company when trading is open when there is a compelling reason, the note said.

If inside information will be announced by the government, it should be given to the affected company under embargo to let it figure out whether it needs to halt trading in its shares or make a statement of its own to meet disclosure rules.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: RBNZ Keeps OCR At 3.5%, Signals Slower Pace Of Future Hikes

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 3.5 percent and signalled he won’t be as aggressive with future rate hikes as previously thought as inflation remains tamer than expected. The kiwi dollar fell to a seven-month low. More>>

ALSO:

Weather: Dry Spells Take Hold In South Island

Many areas in the South Island are tracking towards record dry spells as relatively warm, dry weather that began in mid-August continues... for some South Island places, the current period of fine weather is quite rare. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Productivity Commission To Look At Housing Land Supply

The Productivity Commission is to expand on its housing affordability report with an investigation into improving land supply and development capacity, particularly in areas with strong population growth. More>>

ALSO:

Forestry: Man Charged After 2013 Death

Levin Police have arrested and charged a man with manslaughter in relation to the death of Lincoln Kidd who was killed during a tree felling operation on 19 December 2013. More>>

ALSO:

Smells Like Justice: Dairy Company Fined Over Odour

Dairy company fined over odour Dairy supply company Open Country Dairy Limited has been convicted and fined more than $35,000 for discharging objectionable odour from its Waharoa factory at the time of last year’s ”spring flush” when milk supply was high. More>>

Scoop Business: Dairy Product Prices Decline To Lowest Since July 2012

Dairy product prices dropped to the lowest level since July 2012 in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, led by a slump in rennet casein and butter milk powder. More>>

ALSO:

SOE Results: TVNZ Lifts Annual Profit 25% On Flat Ad Revenue, Quits Igloo

Television New Zealand, the state-owned broadcaster, lifted annual profit 25 percent, ahead of forecast and despite a dip in advertising revenue, while quitting its stake in the pay-TV Igloo joint venture with Sky Network Television. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand

Mosh Social Media
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news