COVID-19: Capital Markets Update – Extension Of Reporting Deadlines

Late last week, the MFSA published a circular to inform the market that in light of the COVID-19 situation, it will be extending (or is willing to extend) a number of reporting deadlines. The key extensions for the Capital Markets industry relate to bond issuers and their guarantors.

1. Guarantors – financial statements

In terms of listing rule 5.61, guarantors are usually obliged to publish their annual financial statements within 4 months from the end of their last financial year. In its circular, the MFSA informed the industry that it will consider granting an extension to this 4-month period on a case-by-case basis. If any guarantor wishes to apply for this extension, it will need to make a written request to the MFSA explaining the exceptional circumstances which require the guarantor to be granted an extension and, presumably, the extension required. For the time being this extension only applies to guarantors (and not issuers themselves) but we understand the MFSA will be issuing communications regarding extensions for issuers.

2. Issuers – financial analysis summary

Furthermore, the MFSA confirmed that it will grant a 2-month extension for issuers to update and publish their financial analysis summaries (FAS). Under normal circumstances, issuers must update and publish their FAS within two months from the publication of the annual accounts. This extension therefore gives issuers 4 months to update and publish their FAS. Notwithstanding the extension, the MFSA made it clear that it still expects issuers and sponsors to act on a best effort basis and provide the market with the best available information, including projections. Issuers were also reminded of their obligation to periodically reassess the impact of current events on their businesses and to immediately inform the market of the impact, should the need arise.