Disclosure hike in Company Law Reform bill

Business will be forced to disclose more information on the web under the
proposed Company Law Reform bill due to be brought before Parliament this

New clauses added to the bill will require quoted companies to disclose on a
website the results of polls at general meeting. They also empower shareholders
in quoted companies to require an independent report of any polled vote to be
published alongside.

The clauses will apply only to quoted companies and shareholders in quoted

A Department of Trade and Industry spokeswoman said it is the intention to
use the bill to reduce the amount of expensive paperwork associated with company
law and place greater reliance on e-communications.

Among other proposed new clauses, there will be a new power to require a
private company to go public – or be wound up – if it breaches share-offer rules
prohibiting private companies offering shares to the public.

Members, creditors or the secretary of State for Trade and Industry will be
able to apply to a court to require a business to register and a court will make
an order unless the company does not satisfy requirements for a public company
or it is impractical and undesirable to require it to do so.

The existing split between public and private businesses is being maintained.
An offer of shares will not be regarded as public if it is not calculated to
result in securities becoming available to persons other than those receiving
the offer, if it is made to people already connected with the company, or if it
involves an employees’ share scheme.

Ministers have decided public companies will retain the right to investigate
who has control of its shares.

The final draft bill is expected later this autumn.

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