COMPANIES (MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS) (COVID 19) ACT 2020
The Companies (Miscellaneous Provisions (Covid-19) Act 2020 which has now been signed into law makes, temporary amendments to the Companies Act 2014 for an interim period up until the 31st December 2020 in response to the challenges Companies may experience as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This interim period can be extended further under the provisions of the Act should the Government decide this is warranted. The key measures provided for by the Act are as follows;
- Annual General Meetings (AGMs) and general meetings can be convened and held by wholly or partly by electronic means, as long as those entitled to attend have a “reasonable opportunity to participate” including a mechanism for casting of votes by a member whether before or during the meeting. This mechanism shall not require the member to be physically present at the general meeting or require the member to appoint a proxy who is to be physically present at the meeting. The AGM can also be postponed to a date up to 31st December 2020.
- Dividends which were approved by the directors before or during the pandemic may be reduced or cancelled due to the “actual or perceived consequences of COVID-19 on the affairs of the company”
- Solvency debt threshold has been raised from €10,000 (for an individual creditor or €20,000 for two or more creditors) to €50,000 for both individual and aggregate debts.
- Examiners may in “exceptional circumstances” apply to increase the period of examinership to 150 days from the current 100 days.
- Documents to which the common seal is affixed to may now be signed in counterpart by one director and the company secretary or by two directors were previously all signatures were required on the same document.