The Companies (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Covid-19) Act 2020 introduced a number of temporary amendments to certain provisions of the Companies Act 2014 and the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1893 which were designed to assist companies during the Covid-19 pandemic.
These amendments apply for a temporary period, known as the “Interim Period”. The Interim Period, which has been extended on a number of occasions, was due to expire on 30 April 2022. The government has now announced a further extension of the Interim Period to 31 December 2022.
Commenting on this extension, the Minister for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy TD stated that while this extension would likely be the final extension of these provisions, that the measures were “focused on ensuring that businesses are provided with adequate time to recover from the difficult trading circumstances of the pandemic.”
The extension means that the following temporary amendments to the Companies Act 2014 may continue to apply until 31 December 2022:
- general meetings and creditors meetings can continue to be held virtually;
- documents which are required to be executed under company seal may continue to be executed in counterpart (i.e. the seal and signatures may be added to separate documents);
- the amount at which a statutory demand can be issued (i.e. the threshold at which a company is deemed unable to pay its debts) remains at €50,000; and
- the period of court protection from creditors during examinership remains at 150 days (subject to court approval).
While noting that this will likely be the final extension of these provisions, Minister Troy has indicated that work was underway to allow for virtual general meetings on a permanent basis. This announcement will no doubt be welcomed by companies across Ireland.