European Single Electronic Format (ESEF)

The new European Single Electronic Format (ESEF) will apply to annual financial reports containing financial statements for financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2020.

1. What is the ESEF?

ESEF is a new format in which issuers, who are subject to the obligation to disclose their annual financial report in accordance with the Transparency Directive, must prepare their financial statements.

2. What is the legal basis?

In 2013 the Transparency Directive, which defines rules concerning the harmonisation of transparency requirements of issuers, was amended to include, amongst others, a requirement for issuers to prepare their annual financial reports in a single electronic reporting format.

ESMA was mandated to develop regulatory technical standards to specify this electronic reporting format (ESEF RTS).  

The ESEF RTS, published on 29 May 2019 in the form of a Commission Delegated Regulation, requires annual financial reports to be entirely prepared in XHTML, which is both human readable and machine readable, and which can be opened with any standard web browsers.

For detailed information and further guidance, including video tutorials and a reporting manual, please see ESMA’s ESEF webpage.

3. When will it apply?

ESEF applies to annual financial reports containing financial statements for financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2020.

4. Who is concerned?

Issuers whose securities are admitted to trading on any EEA regulated market and which are subject to the obligation to disclose their annual financial report under the Transparency Directive are concerned. Issuers listed on the LuxSE Regulated Market are, as such, within the remit of this new obligation to the extent the disclosure obligation applies to them.

5. How will ESEF impact LuxSE’s OAM/FIRST?

Under the Transparency Directive, issuers are required to make regulated information available to the national officially appointed mechanism (OAM) for its central storage.

LuxSE is the OAM in Luxembourg.

To assist our clients with ongoing obligations in terms of OAM storage, filing documents with the financial sector regulator and disseminating information to the public, LuxSE offers a multi-functional reporting tool called FIRST – Financial Instruments Reporting Services Tool.

Due to the introduction of the ESEF, if the information comprises annual financial reports that qualify as regulated information and refers to a financial year starting on 1 January 2020 or after, FIRST will allow for the submission of XHTML format files (with the file extension .xhtml or .html) or a ZIP containing at least one XHTML format file (only with the file extension .html as defined by the iXBRL reporting package specification).

If your company produces IFRS consolidated financial statements, Inline XBRL technology should be embedded in the XHTML, allowing the financial information to be readable to the human eye while at the same time being structured and machine readable. 

Please note that with respect to mandatory submissions of annual financial reports:

    • Either XHTML format files or a ZIP reporting package containing a single XHTML format file (but not both) will be allowed for storage;
    • A PDF format file will still be accepted, provided that the XHTML format file is also stored (i.e. you can still file your annual financial reports using a PDF format provided that you also file your annual financial reports under the XHTML format).

6. Do you need further information?

Should you have any questions or need assistance, please contact us at OAM@bourse.lu.

Disclaimer

The information contained herein (the “Information”) is provided for information purposes only. Although the Luxembourg Stock Exchange (LuxSE) has made reasonable efforts to ensure that the Information is accurate and not misleading, LuxSE does not give any representation or warranty and does not accept any responsibility or liability of any kind whether for the accuracy, correctness, reliability, fitness for a particular purpose or completeness of the Information.  LuxSE does not accept any liability or responsibility for any action refrained or taken or results obtained from the use of the Information. The Information does not constitute and is not construed as any advice, recommendation, undertaking or commitment from or on behalf of LuxSE. The Information shall not be substitute for your own researches, investigations, verifications or consultation for professional or legal advice.