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The Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1986

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Pre-emption rightsN.I.

Offers to shareholders to be on pre-emptive basisN.I.

99.—(1) Subject to the provisions of this Article and Articles 100 to 106, a company proposing to allot equity securities (as defined in Article 104)—

(a)shall not allot any of them on any terms to a person unless it has made an offer to each person who holds relevant shares or relevant employee shares to allot to him on the same or more favourable terms a proportion of those securities which is as nearly as practicable equal to the proportion in nominal value held by him of the aggregate of relevant shares and relevant employee shares, and

(b)shall not allot any of those securities to a person unless the period during which any such offer may be accepted has expired or the company has received notice of the acceptance or refusal of every offer so made.

(2) Paragraph (3) applies to any provision of a company's memorandum or articles which requires the company, when proposing to allot equity securities consisting of relevant shares of any particular class, not to allot those securities on any terms unless it has complied with the condition that it makes such an offer as is described in paragraph (1) to each person who holds relevant shares or relevant employee shares of that class.

(3) If in accordance with a provision to which this paragraph applies—

(a)a company makes an offer to allot securities to such a holder, and

(b)he or anyone in whose favour he has renounced his right to their allotment accepts the offer,

paragraph (1) does not apply to the allotment of those securities, and the company may allot them accordingly; but this is without prejudice to the application of paragraph (1) in any other case.

(4) Paragraph (1) does not apply to a particular allotment of equity securities if these are, or are to be, wholly or partly paid up otherwise than in cash; and securities which a company has offered to allot to a holder of relevant shares or relevant employee shares may be allotted to him, or anyone in whose favour he has renounced his right to their allotment, without contravening paragraph (1)(b).

(5) Paragraph (1) does not apply to the allotment of securities which would, apart from a renunciation or assignment of the right to their allotment, be held under an employees' share scheme.

[F1(6) Where a company holds relevant shares as treasury shares—

(a)for the purposes of paragraphs (1) and (2), the company is not a “person who holds relevant shares”; and

(b)for the purposes of paragraph (1), the shares held as treasury shares do not form part of “the aggregate of relevant shares and relevant employee shares”.]

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F1SR 2004/275

Communication of pre-emption offers to shareholdersN.I.

100.—(1) This Article has effect as to the manner in which offers required by Article 99(1), or by a provision to which Article 99(3) applies, are to be made to holders of a company's shares.

(2) Subject to paragraphs (3) to (7), an offer shall be in writing and shall be made to a holder of shares either personally or by sending it by post (that is to say, prepaying and posting a letter containing the offer) to him or to his registered address or, if he has no registered address in the United Kingdom, to the address in the United Kingdom supplied by him to the company for the giving of notice to him.

If sent by post, the offer is deemed to be made at the time at which the letter would be delivered in the ordinary course of post.

(3) Where shares are held by 2 or more persons jointly, the offer may be made to the joint holder first named in the register of members in respect of the shares.

(4) In the case of a holder's death or bankruptcy, the offer may be made—

(a)by sending it by post in a prepaid letter addressed to the persons claiming to be entitled to the shares in consequence of the death or bankruptcy by name, or by the title of representatives of the deceased, or assignee in bankruptcy, or by any like description, at the address in the United Kingdom supplied for the purpose by those so claiming, or

(b)until such an address has been so supplied, by giving the notice in any manner in which it might have been given if the death or bankruptcy had not occurred.

(5) If the holder—

(a)has no registered address in the United Kingdom and has not given to the company an address in the United Kingdom for the service of notices on him, or

(b)is the holder of a share warrant,

the offer may be made by causing it, or a notice specifying where a copy of it can be obtained or inspected, to be published in the Belfast Gazette.

(6) The offer must state a period of not less than 21 days during which it may be accepted; and the offer shall not be withdrawn before the end of that period.

(7) This Article does not invalidate a provision to which Article 99(3) applies by reason that that provision requires or authorises an offer under it to be made in contravention of any of paragraphs (1) to (6); but, to the extent that the provision requires or authorises such an offer to be so made, it is of no effect.

Exclusion of Articles 99 and 100 by private companyN.I.

101.—(1) Article 99(1), 100(1) to (5) or 100(6) may, as applying to allotments by a private company of equity securities or to such allotments of a particular description, be excluded by a provision contained in the memorandum or articles of that company.

(2) A requirement or authority contained in the memorandum or articles of a private company, if it is inconsistent with any of those Articles, has effect as a provision excluding that Article; but a provision to which Article 99(3) applies is not to be treated as inconsistent with Article 99(1).

Consequences of contravening Articles 99 and 100N.I.

102.—(1) If there is a contravention of Article 99(1), or of Article 100(1) to (5) or of Article 100(6), or of a provision to which Article 99(3) applies, the company, and every officer of it who knowingly authorised or permitted the contravention, are jointly and severally liable to compensate any person to whom an offer should have been made under the Article or provision contravened for any loss, damage, costs or expenses which the person has sustained or incurred by reason of the contravention.

(2) However, no proceedings to recover any such loss, damage, costs or expenses shall be commenced after the expiration of 2 years from the delivery to the registrar of the return of allotments in question or, where equity securities other than shares are granted, from the date of the grant.

Saving for other restrictions as to offersN.I.

103.—(1) Articles 99 to 102 are without prejudice to any statutory provision by virtue of which a company is prohibited (whether generally or in specified circumstances) from offering or allotting equity securities to any person.

(2) Where a company cannot by virtue of such a statutory provision offer or allot equity securities to a holder of relevant shares or relevant employee shares, those Articles have effect as if the shares held by that holder were not relevant shares or relevant employee shares.

Interpretation for Articles 99 to 106N.I.

104.—(1) The following paragraphs apply for the interpretation of Articles 99 to 106.

(2) “Equity security”, in relation to a company, means a relevant share in the company (other than a share shown in the memorandum to have been taken by a subscriber to the memorandum or a bonus share), or a right to subscribe for, or to convert securities into, relevant shares in the company.

(3) A reference to the allotment of equity securities or of equity securities consisting of relevant shares of a particular class includes the grant of a right to subscribe for, or to convert any securities into, relevant shares in the company or (as the case may be) relevant shares of a particular class; but such a reference does not include the allotment of relevant shares pursuant to such a right.

[F2(3A) A reference to the allotment of equity securities or of equity securities consisting of relevant shares of a particular class also includes the sale of any relevant shares in the company or (as the case may be) relevant shares of a particular class if, immediately before the sale, the shares were held by the company as treasury shares.]

(4) “Relevant employee shares”, in relation to a company, means shares of the company which would be relevant shares in it but for the fact that they are held by a person who acquired them in pursuance of an employees' share scheme.

(5) “Relevant shares”, in relation to a company, means shares in the company other than—

(a)shares which as respects dividends and capital carry a right to participate only up to a specified amount in a distribution, and

(b)shares which are held by a person who acquired them in pursuance of an employees' share scheme or, in the case of shares which have not been allotted, are to be allotted in pursuance of such a scheme[F2 or, in the case of shares held by the company as treasury shares, are to be transferred in pursuance of such a scheme].

(6) A reference to a class of shares is to shares to which the same rights are attached as to voting and as to participation, both as respects dividends and as respects capital, in a distribution.

(7) In relation to an offer to allot securities required by Article 99(1) or by any provision to which Article 99(3) applies, a reference in Articles 99 to 103 and this Article (however expressed) to the holder of shares of any description is to whoever was at the close of business on a date, to be specified in the offer and to fall in the period of 28 days immediately before the date of the offer, the holder of shares of that description.

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F2SR 2004/275

Disapplication of pre-emption rightsN.I.

105.—(1) Where the directors of a company are generally authorised for the purposes of Article 90, they may be given power by the articles of association, or by a special resolution of the company, to allot equity securities pursuant to that authority as if—

(a)Article 99(1) did not apply to the allotment, or

(b)that Article applied to the allotment with such modifications as the directors may determine;

and where the directors make an allotment under this paragraph, Articles 99 to 104 have effect accordingly.

(2) Where the directors of a company are authorised for the purposes of Article 90 (whether generally or otherwise), the company may by special resolution resolve either—

(a)that Article 99(1) shall not apply to a specified allotment of equity securities to be made pursuant to that authority, or

(b)that that Article shall apply to the allotment with such modifications as may be specified in the resolution;

and where such a resolution is passed, Articles 99 to 104 have effect accordingly.

[F3(2A) Paragraphs (1) and (2) apply in relation to a sale of shares which is an allotment of equity securities by virtue of Article 104(3A) as if—

(a)in paragraph (1) for “Where the directors of a company are generally authorised for the purposes of Article 90, they” there were substituted “ The directors of a company ” and the words “pursuant to that authority” were omitted, and

(b)in paragraph (2), the words from “Where” to “otherwise), the” there were substituted “ The ” and, in sub-paragraph (a), the words “to be made pursuant to that authority” were omitted.]

(3) The powers conferred by paragraph (1) or a special resolution under paragraph (2) ceases to have effect when the authority to which it relates is revoked or would (if not renewed) expire; but if the authority is renewed, the power or (as the case may be) the resolution may also be renewed, for a period not longer than that for which the authority is renewed, by a special resolution of the company.

(4) Notwithstanding that any such power or resolution has expired, the directors may allot equity securities in pursuance of an offer or agreement previously made by the company, if the power or resolution enabled the company to make an offer or agreement which would or might require equity securities to be allotted after it expired.

(5) A special resolution under paragraph (2), or a special resolution to renew such a resolution, shall not be proposed unless it is recommended by the directors and there has been circulated, with the notice of the meeting at which the resolution is proposed, to the members entitled to have that notice a written statement by the directors setting out—

(a)their reasons for making the recommendation,

(b)the amount to be paid to the company in respect of the equity securities to be allotted, and

(c)the directors' justification of that amount.

(6) A person who knowingly or recklessly authorises or permits the inclusion in a statement circulated under paragraph (5) of any matter which is misleading, false or deceptive in a material particular is liable to imprisonment or a fine, or both.

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Annotations are used to give authority for changes and other effects on the legislation you are viewing and to convey editorial information. They appear at the foot of the relevant provision or under the associated heading. Annotations are categorised by annotation type, such as F-notes for textual amendments and I-notes for commencement information (a full list can be found in the Editorial Practice Guide). Each annotation is identified by a sequential reference number. For F-notes, M-notes and X-notes, the number also appears in bold superscript at the relevant location in the text. All annotations contain links to the affecting legislation.

F3SR 2004/275

Saving for company's pre-emption procedure operative before 1985N.I.

106.—(1) Where a company which is re-registered or registered as a public company is or, but for the provisions of the Order of 1981 and the statutory provisions replacing it, would be subject at the time or re-registration or (as the case may be) registration to a pre-1985 pre-emption requirement, Articles 99 to 105 do not apply to an allotment of the equity securities which are subject to that requirement.

(2) A “pre-1985 pre-emption requirement” is a requirement imposed (whether by the company's memorandum or articles, or otherwise) before the relevant date by virtue of which the company must, when making an allotment of equity securities, make an offer to allot those securities or some of them in a manner which (otherwise than because involving a contravention of Article 100(1) to (5) or 100(6)) is inconsistent with Articles 99 to 104; and “the relevant date” is—

(a)except in a case falling within sub-paragraph (b), 1st January 1985, and

(b)in the case of a company which was re-registered or registered as a public company on an application made before that date, the date on which the application was made.

(3) A requirement which—

(a)is imposed on a private company (having been so imposed before the relevant date) otherwise than by the company's memorandum or articles, and

(b)if contained in the company's memorandum or articles, would have effect under Article 101 to the exclusion of any provisions of Articles 99 to 104,

has effect, so long as the company remains a private company as if it were contained in its memorandum or articles.

(4) If on the relevant date a company, other than a public company registered as such on its original incorporation, was subject to such a requirement as is mentioned in Article 99(2) imposed otherwise than by its memorandum or articles, the requirement is to be treated for the purposes of Articles 99 to 104 as if it were contained in the company's memorandum or articles.

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