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ASX releases revised disclosure rules
AFP / TORSTEN BLACKWOOD ASX releases revised disclosure rules

Market exchange operator ASX says it has released a draft of new continuous disclosure rules to provide more information and clarity for listed companies in response to recent events.

ASX said the draft revisions to its continuous disclosure rules "reflect industry feedback that aspects of the continuous disclosure rules would benefit from updated guidance".

"They also take into consideration recent legal and market developments," ASX said in a statement.

"ASX has worked closely and cooperatively with ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) to develop the revised guidance."

ASX said the draft revisions sought to offer more details on, among other things, the test for determining what was market-sensitive information.

The draft revisions also sought to clarify that "immediately" did not mean instantaneously but rather "promptly and without delay".

The ASX said the draft revisions explained in more detail how continuous disclosure requirements applied to confidential offers to enter into control transactions.

On October 2, the High Court of Australia ruled Fortescue Metals chairman Andrew Forrest did not mislead investors in a case brought by the ASIC.

The case related to Mr Forrest telling investors in 2004 that Fortescue had struck binding agreements with state-owned Chinese companies for building a rail line and port in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

ASIC argued that Mr Forrest misled investors because no final, enforceable contracts had been signed, therefore breaching market disclosure obligations.

Five High Court judges disagreed and ruled unanimously against it.

ASX group executive and chief compliance officer Kevin Lewis said the principle of continuous disclosure underpinned the integrity and efficiency of the Australian equity market.

"The new guidance notice does not fundamentally change ASX's approach to disclosure issues but seeks to provide more information and clarity to help listed entities to understand and comply with their disclosure obligations," Mr Lewis said in a statement on Wednesday.

ASX said it would conduct a national roadshow and consult key stakeholders over the coming months, with submissions due by November 30.

ASX shares were up 28 cents, or 0.94 per cent, to $30.14 at 11.30am in a firmer market.