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SGX gives all firms 2-month breather to hold AGM amid virus outbreak

SINGAPORE Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) will give all firms, not just those with China operations, an additional two months to hold their annual general meeting (AGM) due to concerns over large group meetings amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

This means issuers with a Dec 31, 2019 financial year-end will have up till June 30, 2020 to hold their AGM to approve their FY2019 financial results.

"This waiver is being granted due to feedback expressed by shareholders who want to participate in and vote at AGMs but may be concerned about attending large group meetings amid the Covid-19 situation," SGX RegCo said.

"Today's time extension is for issuers, irrespective of their place of business or operations, that need more time to implement measures to address these concerns," it added.

With more time, companies have more flexibility to consider the best way to conduct their AGMs, SGX RegCo said. They should consider alternative arrangements, including organising virtual information sessions before their AGMs, providing a simultaneous webcast of the AGM proceedings as well as providing shareholders with a forum to ask questions and engage with management and the board of directors.

Instead of physically attending AGMs, shareholders may want to consider voting via proxies. Issuers may also arrange for alternative AGM venues to cut the congregation size at any one particular venue, SGX RegCo said.

On Feb 7, it granted only firms with significant China operations an extension up till June 30 to hold their AGM. That followed feedback from audit professionals who found it challenging to perform audits due to the measures put in place by the authorities amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

To ensure that shareholders continue to get information on a timely basis, companies that wish to delay their AGM must continue to issue their annual reports to shareholders and the Exchange by Apr 15, and provide the requisite AGM notice of at least 14 days. They are also still required to release their unaudited financial statements for FY Dec 31, 2019 by Feb 29.

The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority will waive the fees for applications for extension of time, and companies seeking the waiver must notify SGX RegCo via the RegCo Submissions Portal.

"Notwithstanding the waiver, issuers are reminded that they are subject to continuous disclosure obligations under the Listing Rules," SGX RegCo said.

"SGX RegCo is closely monitoring the situation and shall determine, where appropriate, if any further measures are required," it added.