Companies across the country have kept their office premises closed amid the ongoing nationwide shutdown to curb the spread of coronavirus.
As a result, companies are finding it difficult to prepare and submit financial statements for the quarter ended on March 31, 2020.
In this regard, the Bangladesh Merchant Bankers Association (BMBA) has requested the securities regulator for a time extension, said sources.The association proposed to submit two quarterly reports together after the quarter that will end on June 30, 2020.
Earlier on March 24, the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) issued a circular with temporary relaxation onholding mandatory board meetings and shareholders' general meetings within the time determined by the securities laws.
The commission also temporarily exempted listed companies and market entities from the timely publication and dissemination of price sensitive information, and from the mandatory monthly and quarterly submissions.
It also said that listed entities can arrange meetings online with proper documentation and evidence of compliances, based on which some multinational companies are conducting their general meetings.
But the BSEC circular did not mention any deadline as the possible pandemic situation was unknown then.
As the officialsconcerned are not being able to go to office, they are finding it difficult to prepare the latest quarterly financial reports within mid-May – the deadline set by securities law for almost all entities.
The situation demands an opportunity to prepare, publish and submit financial statements for January-March and April-June quarter together after June, said the association of investment bankers.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and shutdown, the Securities and Exchange Board of India has extended time for publishing their listed companies' quarterly statements by 45 days, which is 30 days for publishing the annual financials.
The BMBA, in its letter to the BSEC at the beginning of this week, also wrotethe capital market intermediaries like brokers, merchant banks, and asset managers have to submit monthly activities reports and quarterly financial statements to regulators.
They sought exemption from those until June because of the prevailing uncertainty.
Some listed companies closing the fiscal year on December 31 have declared dividends.
Moreover, their record dates to identify shareholders have fallen into the ongoing general holidays. If BSEC positively allows the same record dates valid, investors may receive the dividends in time, said BMBA.
Besides, the association also has sought a BSEC instruction to the listed entities so that they disburse cash dividends within 15 days of the annual general meeting, where recommended dividends are approved by shareholders.
Bangladesh went into a nationwide shutdown in the form of general holiday on March 25 and the government has extended it for the fifth time up to May 5 as the novel coronavirus infection cases are on the rise.
Except manufacturing of some lifesaving and essential products and emergency services, all other business activities are halted to make people stay at home.
The stock market is also closed during the shutdown.