AGMs of public companies - Temporary COVID-19 extensions and exceptions for ‘virtual’ AGMs
In its Media Release on 20 March 2020 (MR 20-068), the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) noted that it would not take action if annual general meetings (AGMs) of listed entities and unlisted public companies were delayed by two months, and that it would support entities holding AGMs using appropriate technology (‘virtual AGMs’).
Extension of deadlines
This dispensation to delay holding AGMs for two months only covers entities with 31 December 2019 year-ends that would otherwise be required to hold their AGM within five months of reporting date, i.e. by 31 May 2020. Such entities would ideally be able to hold their AGM by the end of July 2020. However, ASIC notes that this situation will remain under review.
The reason for ASIC’s ‘no action’ position on the holding of virtual AGMs is the restriction on holding large gatherings due to the ‘social distancing’ restrictions in place because of COVID-19. So as not to breach these ‘social distancing’ rules, ASIC acknowledges that some entities may still wish to hold their AGMs by 31 May 2020 or during the extension period (to end of July), using technology. This may include a ‘hybrid’ AGM (where there is a physical location and online facilities) or a ‘virtual’ AGM that is conducted solely online.
Please refer to MR 20-068 for more information.