The board meetings of eight companies and annual general meetings (AGM) of 10 other companies have been postponed because the government has declared an extended public holiday to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The board meetings and AGMs of all of these companies that are listed on the Dhaka Stock Exchange, were scheduled to take place towards the end of this month, according to the stock exchange.
AB Bank, Brac Bank, Eastern Bank, ICB Islamic Bank, Lanka Bangla Finance, Asia Insurance, Takaful Insurance and BD Welding Electrodes Ltd were supposed to hold their board meetings to get approval of their audit reports of 2019 and to take a decision on giving dividends to their shareholders.
RAK Ceramics, Prime Insurance, IPDC Finance, Reliance Insurance, Nitol Insurance, Delta Brac Housing, Green Delta Insurance, Beach Hatchery, Lafarge Holcim Bangladesh Ltd and IDLC Finance have postponed their AGMs.
Lafarge Holcim has also postponed its record date.
Mostofa Kamal, company secretary of Lanka Bangla Finance, told The Business Standard that they had suspended the board meeting as the government had declared public holidays. They will announce another date when the situation becomes normal, he added.
SM Nurul Islam, managing director of BD Welding, said, "Our office building has been closed and we cannot go there. All the papers are in the office, so there is no alternative but to postpone the board meeting."
However, Iftekhar Zaman, company secretary of Uttara Bank, said the bank was going to hold its board meeting online.
At the 729th commission meeting on Tuesday, the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) decided that listed companies would be allowed to defer the mandatory submission of financial statements, arrangement of board meetings and shareholders' general meetings ─ AGM and Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) ─ to help them maintain social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The companies preferring online meetings must maintain digital and hard copy records of the events, and those must be submitted to the regulator as part of compliance, the directive came at the meeting of the BSEC.
However, there still remains a question over how long the companies will be allowed to defer the dates of the mandatory meetings.
When asked about it, a senior BSEC official told The Business Standard that the commission would decide on it as soon as the coronavirus related emergency situation is over.
The securities law makes it mandatory for listed companies and mutual funds to prepare and publish their financial statements on a quarterly and a yearly basis within a pre-determined timeframe.
The companies get 30 to 45 days for preparing unaudited statements after each quarter ends, while for annual audited statements, they get four months after the fiscal year ends.
The statements have to be approved in board meetings and later submitted to the stock exchanges and the BSEC. The statements are then published for the shareholders.
Board meetings are also mandatory to take various decisions regarding the companies' businesses.
Annual audited financial statements, dividends, appointment of next auditor and directors are subject to shareholders' approval in AGMs, which must take place at a time no later than one year after the previous AGM.
Shareholders also need to approve or refuse some special proposals by company management in an EGM.