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Capital Markets

Depositary receipts: OTCQX in the pink

Spate of high-profile delistings by blue-chip European companies boosts Pink Sheets’ premium market segment.

The list of European companies fleeing the excessive costs of maintaining their NYSE ADR programmes keeps getting longer.

French chemicals group Rhodia became the latest such company to cancel its exchange programme in the US and move to the over-the-counter market, listing its depositary receipts on International OTCQX, a segment of the Pink Sheets, an electronic inter-dealer quotation system. Rhodia joins British Gas, ICI, Tate & Lyle and Wal-Mart de México, Latin America’s largest retailer, as one of the 14 such companies to make the move.

Sponsors

International OTCQX, which launched in March this year, is a market tier open to any non-US company listed on a reputable international exchange that provides reporting available in English. Like companies listing on London’s AIM, companies listing on International OTCQX and the domestic versions, PremierQX and PrimeQX, must be sponsored by an investment bank or law firm known as a designated advisor for disclosure (DAD).

The idea behind the new market segments is to enable quality companies that provide good levels of disclosure to investors to distinguish themselves from the nearly 8,000 other companies included in the Pink Sheets that do not have to meet any minimum standards.

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