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The Companies (Miscellaneous Provisions) (COVID-19) Bill 2020

The Companies (Miscellaneous Provisions) (COVID-19) Bill 2020

The recently passed Companies (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Covid-19) Bill 2020 makes temporary amendments to the Companies Act 2014 and the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts 1893 – 2018 to address issues arising as a result of Covid-19.

The Bill ensures that companies and industrial and provident societies in Ireland will be able to hold their Annual General Meetings (AGMs), general meetings and creditors’ meetings by electronic means. It also makes provision in respect of business solvency 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.

The Bill provides that the measures will be operative for an interim period (up until 31 December 2020, with potential for extension of this period). The bill also provides the Minister with regulation making power in respect of extending the interim period and amending the operational detail of hybrid and virtual general meetings.

Amongst the key features of the bill are:

  • Allow a company to postpone its AGM until 31 December 2020 regardless of the deadlines set out in the Companies Act 2014 or the company's constitution;
  • Companies can now convene and hold general meetings by virtual means;
  • Provide that creditors’ meetings may be held virtually;
  • Allow a company to have greater flexibility when executing documents under the company seal by allowing them to be executed in counterpart;
  • Increase the amount at which a statutory demand can be issued from €10/20k to €50k;
  • Extend the examinership process to a total of 150 days (subject to court approval).

For more details see the full bill here.

John Burns is Business Development Manager for the Chartered Governance Institute in Ireland.

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