Hong Kong Company Maintenance and Compliance Guide (5) – Issuing shares

The issuing of new shares in a company is a three-stage process involving the allotment by the directors of the shares to particular persons and then the issuance of the shares to such persons after the entering into the company’s register of shareholders of the relevant particulars.

Allotments of shares, other than allotments pursuant to offers to existing shareholders pro rata to their existing holdings, may only be made with the prior approval of the shareholders in general meeting. This approval may be given either in relation to a particular allotment or allotments or generally. In either case this shareholder approval expires (if not previously revoked by the company in general meeting) when the next annual general meeting of the company is held or ought to be held.

A return of allotment of shares, disclosing the members and their shareholdings must be filed with the Registrar within one month of the date of the allotment. If this time limit is not met, the Registrar will usually refuse to accept the return of allotments for filing and an application will have to be made to the court for leave to file the return out of time.

A share may be beneficially owned by someone other than the registered holder. In the case of a private company, it is not normally necessary for the identity of the beneficial owner to be revealed to the company or to any authority or to be a matter of public record, although a subsidiary is required to state in its accounts the name of its ultimate holding company. We provide a nominee shareholder service.