Virtual AGMs to become a permanent reality for Irish firms

New rules under Companies Act provides breathing space for business impacted by Covid-19 and online AGMs for more than 240,000 companies.

The Irish Government – ahead of a package of financial supports for firms impacted by the ongoing pandemic crisis – has extended the Companies (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Covid-19) Act 2020 to 30 April 2022.

Under extensions to the Companies Act virtual general meetings of businesses will continue, the threshold for companies unable to pay debts will remain at €50,000 and the extension of examinership

“Work is progressing to put virtual AGMs and general meetings on a permanent statutory footing and I look forward to introducing this next year”

The Act makes temporary amendments to the Companies Act 2014 and the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1893 to address issues arising as a result of Covid-19.

The Act ensures that 240,000 companies and 950 industrial and provident societies in Ireland can hold their Annual General Meetings (AGMs) and general meetings online.

It also provides for additional breathing space for struggling businesses by increasing the period of examinership to 150 days and increasing the threshold at which a company is deemed unable to pay its debts to €50,000.

Contingency plans

“The recent resurgence in case numbers highlights the unpredictability of the pandemic and we must be ready to adapt to the evolving nature of the crisis,” said Minister for Trade Promotion, Company Regulation and Digital, Robert Troy TD.

“In that context, I believe it is prudent that the measures provided for by the Act should be retained as a contingency measure and as a way of providing certainty and stability for business over the winter/spring months.

“The Government’s most recent advice concerning attendance at work is that such attendance should only occur when it is necessary to conduct essential work that can’t be undertaken in a remote setting. In order to be compatible with this advice I have further extended the provision for undertaking meetings in a virtual format to allow companies to fulfil their statutory obligations without compromising the health of participants.

“While these temporary extensions will give businesses much needed certainty in the months ahead, work is progressing to put virtual AGMs and general meetings on a permanent statutory footing and I look forward to introducing this next year.”

John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.

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