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Coronavirus: How many Annual General Meetings will be affected?  

Based on BusinessDay Research and Intelligence Unit’s (BRIU) AGM Monitor, fourteen listed companies are to hold their annual general meetings between Monday March 23 and June 17, 2020. Our concerns over the forthcoming AGMs followed the directives from the Nigerian authorities for institutions and individuals to avoid mass gatherings in order to curb the spread of coronavirus.

 

As at last week Friday, apart from United Capital which affirmed its AGM would go ahead as scheduled, stakeholders still await notifications from other firms.

 

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Initially scheduled to hold this month are the Africa Prudential that will hold its AGM on March 23; United Capital, March 24; Transcorp Hotels, March 24; Transcorp, March 25; UBA, March 27, and Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), March 30.

 

In April, we have Custodian Investment’s AGM on April 15; Nigerian Breweries, April 22, and Access Bank on April 30. Two companies, Infinity Trust Mortgage Bank and MTN Nigeria Communications will hold their AGMs on May 7 and 8, 2020 respectively.

 

Nestle Nigeria will hold its AGM on June 2; Dangote Cement, June 15 while Stanbic IBTC Holdings will hold its AGM on June 17. The dates were already decided before the notice from the NCDC and NSE.

 

Meanwhile, stakeholders are awaiting guidance from listed firms in the country, which have their Annual General Meetings (AGMs) slated for between March 23 to June 2020, following the advice from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to the effect that mass gatherings could possibly aggravate the spread of coronavirus if extra preventive measures are not put in place.

 

In response to our enquiries, United Capital which AGM will come up next week affirmed that its AGM would go as scheduled.

 

“Please be informed that every shareholder is invited to the Annual General Meeting and there are no restrictions. The meeting will hold on the 24th of March 2020 in Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja”, the United Capital said.

 

In the last one week, a number of high profiled programs were either cancelled or postponed as government and other stakeholders devised means to curtail the spread of the pandemic.

 

The notice from the NCDC was further reiterated by the authorities of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to all the stakeholders through a circular NSE/RD/LRD/CIR4/20/03/19 released on March 19, 2020.

 

“Mass gatherings can amplify the spread of infectious diseases including coronavirus disease (COVID-19), where this is circulating. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is constantly monitoring the epidemiological situation in the country. In view of the rapid evolution and global transmission of coronavirus, NCDC will make the recommendation for cancellation of mass gatherings in line with guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO).

 

“At this stage, we are not advising the cancellation of gatherings, but our advice may change as the epidemiological situation evolves. This is assessed on a daily basis. Regular updates can be found on www.covid19.ncdc.gov.ng”, NCDC said.

 

On its part, the authorities of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) called the attention of companies to the regulatory provisions of the time firms are allowed to hold their AGMs.

 

“If an Issuer fails to hold its annual general meeting within nine (9) months from the end of its financial year end or within such extended period as may be approved by the Corporate Affairs Commission; the Issuer shall file a report with The Exchange within ten (10) business days of the end of the stipulated period explaining the reasons for their default; and they shall make an announcement in that regard in at least two (2) national daily newspapers within five (5) business days of receiving The Exchange’s approval to make the announcement. Issuers are therefore advised to utilize the windows provided by these rules as may be appropriate while planning their AGMs’’, the NSE stated.

 

Zenith and Vitafoam held their AGMs on March 4 and 16, 2020 respectively.

 

TELIAT SULE

 

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