On May 18, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published a statement regarding the non-renewal and termination of the short selling bans imposed by certain EU financial regulators (the Statement).

As a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on EU financial markets, the Austrian Finanzmarktaufsicht (FMA), the Belgian Financial Securities and Markets Authority (FSMA), the French Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), the Greek Hellenic Capital Market Commission (HCMC), the Spanish Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores (CNMV) and the Italian Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (CONSOB) introduced bans on short selling from the middle of March 2020.

In the Statement, ESMA notes that the Austrian FMA, Belgian FSMA, French AMF, Greek HCMC and Spanish CNMV chose not to renew their emergency restrictions on short selling, and that the Italian CONSOB decided to preemptively terminate its equivalent emergency restrictions (which were otherwise due to expire on June 18, 2020). All such short selling measures therefore expired at midnight on May 18, 2020.

Despite the end of the various short selling bans, holders (anywhere in the world) of net short positions in shares admitted to trading on an EU regulated market must continue to notify the relevant EU financial regulator if their net short position is equal to or greater than 0.1 percent of the issued share capital of the relevant EU company. For further information on this requirement, please see the March 20, 2020 edition of Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest.

The Statement is available here.