OCBC, Great Eastern defer AGM

Kelly Ng
Published Fri, Apr 3, 2020 · 10:37 AM

WITH Singapore on Friday announcing further movement restrictions within the country due to the virus outbreak, OCBC said that its annual general meeting (AGM), originally scheduled for April 30, will be postponed.

Its insurance arm, Great Eastern, will also postpone its AGM originally slated for April 15, the insurer said on Friday.

This comes already as new regulations are due to be passed in order to allow for virtual shareholder meetings. Legislative amendments are being proposed for a parliament sitting this month, in relation to the conduct of meetings.

Both OCBC and Great Eastern have not set a revised date for their respective AGMs.

With shareholder meetings meant as a means for investors to approve dividend payouts, Great Eastern said the payment for its final dividend of 50 Singapore cents per share will be deferred from its original payment date of May 8. The record date was initially April 24.

"In view of the deferment of the AGM, the record date and payment date for the final dividend for financial year ended December 31, 2019 which is subject to the approval of shareholders at the AGM, will accordingly be deferred," Great Eastern said in a regulatory filing.


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As for OCBC, it said it will keep shareholders posted of any changes to its previously announced record date and date for dividend payments. The bank was due to pay a final dividend of 28 Singapore cents per share on June 5, with the record date on May 26.

DBS Group in late March said it will defer dividend payments to shareholders until after a new AGM date is fixed. It was due to pay a final dividend of 33 Singapore cents per share on April 21. Its AGM was originally scheduled for March 31.

In a regulatory filing, OCBC said the bank's move comes after tightened measures to reduce transmission amidst the novel coronavirus outbreak, such as the health ministry's suspension of all events and mass gatherings regardless of size on March 24, and financial regulatory authorities' guideline that all listed issuers are to comply with safe distancing measures. 

The Singapore government stepped up measures further on Friday, directing most workplaces and schools to shut on April 7 and April 8, respectively. Essential services, including key banking services, will remain open.

OCBC said it will update shareholders on the date for the deferred AGM and the procedures for participation, after the legislative amendments to facilitate the holding of the AGM have been passed. It will also need to make necessary arrangements to adopt the recommended measures for conducting meetings and implement the safe distancing measures put in place by the Ministry of Health.

OCBC's last general meeting was held on April 29, 2019 and saw a turnout of about 1,500 shareholders.


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