Supreme Court permits 16 listed companies to hold virtual AGM

Supreme Court permits 16 listed companies to hold virtual AGM

Friday, June 26, 2020

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THE Supreme Court has given the green light for 16 companies listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) to hold their annual general meetings (AGMs) virtually, either in full or part.

This follows the successful application by the JSE, which made the application on the ground that Jamaican law requires shareholders' meetings to be held “in person”, allowing shareholders to discuss, debate and vote on matters. Where it is not possible to hold an AGM in person, a court order is required to hold the meeting by electronic means.

The 16 companies are Barita Investments, Berger Paints, Caribbean Cement, FosRich Limited, JMMB Group, Lasco Distributors, Lasco Financial Services, Lasco Manufacturing, Main Event, Mayberry Investments, Sagicor Group, Supreme Ventures, Jamaica Stock Exchange, Trans Jamaica Highway, Victoria Mutual Investments, and Wigton Windfarm. The application was based on the grounds that it was impracticable for the companies to hold their 2020 AGM in person given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing and other requirements imposed on citizens as a result of its effects.

Supreme Court judge Justice Laing granted the application on Wednesday after hearing submissions from Queen's Counsel Michael Hylton, who represented the JSE in court. The 16 companies are now permitted to call and hold their 2020 AGMs by live stream or broadcast using electronic means and allow their shareholders to participate and vote electronically either before or at the meetings.

They can also now serve their shareholders with notices of AGMs and supporting documents by e-mail or by postings on their websites or the JSE's website. Some of these 16 companies, which might otherwise have missed their deadlines for 2020 AGMs, now have up to December 31, 2020 to call these meetings.

Companies which were not parties to the application will not be able to rely on the court order to either call their AGMs electronically or to serve notices and other relevant documents as the court order permits.

— Durrant Pate

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