Singapore to allow dual-class shares to attract listings

SINGAPORE, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Singapore will allow companies to issue different classes of shares to help its stock exchange to compete for new listings and the country to maintain its competitiveness as a financial centre.

"Companies will be allowed to issue non-voting shares and shares carrying multiple votes if their articles allow it and subject to certain safeguards," the Ministry of Finance said in a statement on Wednesday.

"This will give companies greater flexibility in raising capital, and meet different investor preferences."

British soccer team Manchester United chose to list its shares in New York in August after initially considering the

Singapore Exchange .

Difficulties in obtaining approval for its dual-class share offer in Singapore was cited as a major reason for the change in listing venue.

Singapore's Ministry of Finance said that the changes to its Companies Act was aimed at maintaining the city state's competitiveness as a business hub as well as to reduce regulatory burden for companies and improve the corporate governance landscape.

Other changes to the Act included provisions that will exempt more small and medium-sized companies from performing an audit and lower their cost of compliance.

(Reporting by Kevin Lim; Editing by David Goodman)

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