Will virtual be the "new normal"? The new German government's draft bill indicates that annual shareholders' meetings may continue to be held virtually in the future.
According to the new plans of the German government, the annual shareholders' meetings of listed companies can be held virtually even after the Covid-19 pandemic. This is indicated by a draft bill on the "virtual general meeting" presented by the Federal Ministry of Justice on Feb. 10, 2022.
Before the Corona pandemic, it was common practice to hold all AGMs exclusively in presence. However, the crisis has shown us that virtual AGMs work and that they even have some advantages, such as an increasing attendance rate at assemblies; in other words, a higher proportion of the capital stock was represented at the AGMs. A virtual AGM also offers some advantages in terms of costs, as it eliminates the need to rent expensive exhibition and concert halls, especially for large corporations.
Federal Minister of Justice Marcus Buschman sees the corona-related provisional arrangement as a permanent possibility. The draft bill deals, among other things, with speaking rights for shareholders and the possibility of demand so that they can retain their usual rights in the context of virtual assemblies and are not forced into a passive role.
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