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Companies (Miscellaneous Provisions) (COVID-19) Act 2020

On the 30th of July last the Companies (Miscellaneous Provisions) (COVID-19) Bill 2020 passed all stages through Dail Eireann and became law on Saturday the 1st of August 2020 when it was signed into law by the President.  The new law can be cited as the Companies (Miscellaneous Provisions) (COVID-19) Act 2020.

Principal features of the Act

The main provisions of the Act can be broadly summarised as follows, to:

  • Provide for the temporary extension of certain measures which will be operative for an “interim period” (i.e. up until 31 December 2020, with potential for further extension of this period if required);
  • To allow companies to postpone their AGMs until 31 December 2020;
  • Provide that both general (i.e. shareholder meetings) and creditors’ meetings may be held virtually by technological means either wholly or partially (i.e. Hybrid meetings) by electronic means;
  • Allow documents which are required to be executed under seal to be executed in counterpart (i.e. as separate copies);
  • Increase the amount at which a statutory demand can be issued from €10/20k to €50k prior to commencing insolvency/liquidation proceedings;
  • Extend the examinership process to a total of 150 days (subject to court approval);
  • Allow the Minister to make regulations in respect of extending the interim period further and amend the operational detail for holding hybrid and virtual general meetings.

 The main provisions in relation to co-operatives include, to:

  • Provide that the measures will be operative for an interim period (up until 31 December 2020, with potential for extension of this period also);
  • Provide for a deferral of the Annual General Meeting until 31 December 2020;
  • Provide that a general meeting may be held as a hybrid general meeting (a meeting where some of the members physically attend at the venue or venues specified in the notice of the meeting while others may participate by electronic means) or a fully virtual general meeting;
  • Allow the Minister to make regulations in respect of extending the interim period further and amend the operational detail for holding hybrid and virtual general meetings.

Also as a result of previous amendments to the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts in 1978 and 2014, the company law proposals on examinership and creditors meetings automatically apply to co-operatives also

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