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NEWS UPDATES 10 May 2009

Malaysia bourse to merge boards in August

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Malaysia will merge the main and second boards of its stock market under new equity fund-raising guidelines to take effect in August this year, Reuters quoted the stock exchange regulator as saying Friday.

The reforms, first announced in March last year by then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, are aimed at allowing a more efficient access to capital and investments. The two boards have a combined market capitalisation of around 740 billion ringgit ($211 billion).

The reforms will bring Malaysia's equity guidelines in line with regional bourses, said Zarinah Anwar, the chairman of the Securities Commission (SC).

"This is by far the most robust process that we have undertaken in reviewing our regulatory approach," she said in a speech.

Companies currently listed on the main and second boards will be migrated to the new unified board known as the "Main Market", Zarinah told reporters later.

"There will be no delisting (of companies) pursuant to the merger of the two boards," she said.

Companies currently listed on a separate market, the Malaysian Exchange of Securities Dealing and Automated Quotation (MESDAQ), will be subsumed into a new market to be called the ACE Market. Its capitalisation is around 4.75 billion ringgit.

Among the rules, applications for private placements and rights offerings will no longer require the commission's approval, Zarinah said at the launch of the new framework.

Approval will still be required for initial public offerings, acquisitions resulting in a significant change in business direction or policy, secondary listings and cross listings, and transfer of listings from the ACE Market to the Main Market.







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