Rules eased for science firm floats

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The Independent Online
THE Stock Exchange plans to make it easier for more scientific research companies to float. Rules governing the listing of scientific companies, introduced in December 1993, were designed to make it easier for those without a three- year trading record to come to the market, but an updated version will extend the definition of a scientific company to include those involved in research and development in agriculture and food.

The Stock Exchange will also ease the requirements on disclosure of price-sensitive information for scientific companies. They will still be bound to announce any changes in finances, business conditions or expectations of performance that would affect the share price. But they will not be required to correct all information issued by third parties.

Nigel Atkinson, head of listing at the Stock Exchange, said the change would ensure that the companies were 'not burdened with an obligation to correct every market rumour'.

Scientific companies will be free to choose between methods of listing, such as a placing, intermediaries offer or offer for sale, regardless of size. And big shareholders will be prohibited from disposing of more than 40 per cent of their stake for up to two years after flotation. At the moment, promoters cannot sell any shares in the two- year period.