11 Apr 2023 15:31

Russian issuers lose access to information disclosure on LSE

MOSCOW. April 11 (Interfax) - A number of Russian issuers have encountered an inability to make disclosures on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), sources in several companies told Interfax.

The Equity story (EQS) provider, which many used as an alternative to the exchange's official service, RNS, stopped working with Russian companies as of March 31, the sources said. Other providers, including RNS, refuse to conclude new contracts with Russian issuers.

"The EQS provider notified us that as of March 31 they are no longer working with Russian companies. RNS does not conclude new agreements [with Russian issuers], but continues to serve existing accounts for now. Alternative EQS providers also turned us down," an Interfax source said.

It is possible to disclose information on the UK financial market via a limited number of providers (primary information provider, PIP) accredited by the FCA.

One of the Russian companies, which has so far been able to disclose information on the LSE, confirmed that there is no such option at the moment.

The agency's interlocutor in another company said it had managed to negotiate an extension of the contract with EQS for another month, but would then have to look for another provider. EQS has agreed to provide disclosure services to another issuer until mid-April.

Foreign-listed companies have had problems as well. "Our contractor is terminating operations in Russia. We are currently negotiating with others, some have already refused," a representative of Jersey-registered gold miner Polymetal told Interfax.

Companies subject to British sanctions were deprived of traditional disclosure tools even earlier. For example, Evraz reported that back in May 2022 it was informed by its PIP (at that time it was RNS) about the termination of its services. The company switched to another provider, but that one subsequently decided not to work with Evraz, and requests with other accredited PIPs yielded no results.

According to unofficial explanations issued by the LSE, the exchange will be satisfied with disclosure of information to foreign investors via the English version of a company's corporate website, according to an Interfax source. The FCA has recommended that, in addition to the website, messages be distributed through major foreign agencies specializing in information for financial markets (like Business Wire), the regulator said.

Interfax has sent inquiries to ESQ and LSE.

Many issuers disclosed information through alternative RNS providers, as this was significantly cheaper. In addition, EQS allowed publication of messages on the LSE at any time (RNS has restrictions on the time of publication) and organized webcasts, Interfax sources said.