The European Union's markets authority has imposed a fine on Standard & Poor's for releasing credit ratings prematurely to the public, the regulator said Friday.

S&P Global Ratings Europe was fined 1.1 million euros ($1.2 million) for the breaches, which took place between 2019 and 2021, the European Securities and Markets Authority said.

The ESMA said S&P published credit ratings before the concerned securities were issued by six unidentified entities.

"Publishing a credit rating before the issuance of the rated securities may result in harm to the issuer, to investors and more generally to the orderly functioning of the financial markets," ESMA chair Verena Ross said.

The ESMA cited flaws in S&P's internal control procedures and breaches of the agency's transparency obligations.

S&P can appeal the fine.