You have decided to “go public” and offer your company's shares on the open market. Companies that decide to make a securities offering may be seeking capital to finance expansion or may be transitioning away from individual or family ownership. Whatever your reason for going public, ensure that you are familiar with the process for making securities offerings.
In The Bahamas, the Securities Commission oversees public offerings of securities. The Bahamas has its own international and domestic securities exchange, known as BISX. To regulate offerings of and trading in securities on BISX and other exchanges, the Securities Commission enforces a number of laws and rules. The laws surrounding securities offerings are laid out in the Securities Industry Act.
The Securities Industry Act contemplates that companies will do a large amount of planning before making offerings. Companies should carefully consider how much capital they seek to raise by making a securities offering, review their corporate structure and bylaws to adjust for having publicly traded shares, and seek out qualified professionals to assist in the offering. Under the Securities Industry Act, a company making a public offering must prepare a detailed prospectus. A prospectus makes financial disclosures about the company and the securities being offered, including company ownership structure, financial background, and details about any securities issued by the company.
BISX and the Securities Commission recommend that businesses communicate with them about a proposed public offering starting early in the planning process. Companies must submit their prospectuses to the Securities Commission, which reviews and then registers the prospectuses before the offering is made. Companies listing their securities on BISX must file listing documents and the registered prospectus with BISX in accordance with BISX's listing rules.
After a company completes all the preparation, drafting of prospectus, and registration and filing requirements, it can announce the offering to the public. Public offerings should be made in such a way that all people interested in an offering can obtain all material information needed to make an investment decision. The announcement and prospectus usually list an opening and closing date for the offering, after which the company will issue investors their shares.
To find out more about securities offerings in The Bahamas, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.