Disclosure Requirements - Estonia

21.10.2011

Disclosure Category: 3

Background and legal basis

The obligation to disclose derives from the Estonian Securities Market Act, which stipulates that beneficial owners must notify the regulator and the issuer when their holdings of the share capital or voting rights in an Estonian listed company cross specific thresholds (see below).

This is also in accordance with Directive 2004/109/EC (transparency) and Directive 2007/44/EC (qualifying holdings), which have been implemented in Estonia. According to Estonian Securities Market Act, the notification requirement to disclose major holdings does not apply, among other things, to shares acquired for the sole purpose of clearing and settling within the usual short settlement cycle (T+3).

Obligation to report thresholds crossing

The obligation to report the crossing of thresholds falls on the beneficial owner (that is, the party eligible to vote) as follows.

Thresholds for securities listed on the Estonian regulated market

When a beneficial owner is aware of a transaction that has caused his voting rights in an Estonian listed company to reach, exceed or fall below a 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%, 25%, 33⅓%, 50% or 66⅔% threshold, then such shareholder must notify the Estonian Financial Supervision Authority (EFSA) and the issuer.

Also, at the request of the EFSA or an Estonian public limited company (the issuer), a person who has given such notification of the number of votes is required to prove the number of votes owned by him/her, whether directly or indirectly, the size and the acquisition, ownership or transfer of the holding to the EFSA or the issuer, respectively.

An Estonian issuer whose shares are listed shall, unless the information has already been disclosed to the EFSA, organise the disclosure of respective information immediately but not later than three (3) business days after the receipt thereof.

Reporting obligation should be carried out as soon as possible, but no later than within four (4) trading days as of when the beneficial owner learns or should have learned of the acquisitions or disposal of the major holding with voting rights leading to the threshold realisation.

Qualified holdings

To increase or decrease a holding in a local bank or insurance company, investment company or fund management company to respectively dispose, exceed or fall below 10% (qualified holding), 20%, 30% or 50% of the issuer's share capital or voting rights, the beneficial owner must seek approval from the EFSA.

The obligation to seek approval for qualified holdings must be fulfilled in advance.

Also, applicable laws should be followed when notifying the EFSA and filing required documentation.

Sanctions

A fine of up to EUR 32,000 can be imposed for failure to notify of acquisition or disposal or fall below the threshold of voting rights or qualified holdings as described above.