Companies Act 2006 Explanatory Notes

Sections 569 to 573: Disapplication of pre-emption rights

869.This group of sections deals with the circumstances in which the statutory pre-emption requirements may be disapplied or modified by a power under the articles or by special resolution in accordance with the detailed rules in these sections. The rules replace or restate equivalent provisions in section 95 of the 1985 Act.

870.Section 569 is a new provision which sets out how members of a private company with only one class of shares may authorise the directors to allot shares without complying with the statutory pre-emption provisions.

871.Section 573 is concerned with the disapplication of pre-emption rights in connection with a sale of treasury shares. Generally speaking, where a company buys back its own shares, it is normally required to cancel those shares (see section 706(b)). Certain companies (principally those which are listed or those whose shares are traded on the Alternative Investment Market and equivalent companies in the EEA) may however elect not to cancel shares which have been bought back but may hold the shares “in treasury”. A share which is held in treasury may be sold at a future point in time and this facility enables such companies to raise capital more quickly than they would otherwise be able to do, as the directors do not have to obtain prior authority from the company’s members before selling treasury shares. However, the provisions of section 561 do apply to sales of treasury shares as they apply to allotments of shares (see section 560(2)(b)).

872.This section applies to a sale of shares which have been held in treasury by the company. It replaces section 95(2A) of the 1985 Act and reproduces the effect of that section by enabling a company’s members to give a general power to the directors (through the company’s articles or by special resolution of the company’s members) to sell such shares as if statutory pre-emption rights did not apply, or applied with modifications.

873.This section also permits the members to confer upon the directors (by special resolution) a specific power which enables them to sell treasury shares as if statutory pre-emption rights did not apply to a specified sale, or applied with modifications.

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