MONDAY 7 SEP 2009 12:04 PM


European IR professionals were braced for upheaval last month as the deadline passed for the implementation of the EU Shareholder Rights Directive.

Deadline for European countries to incorporate the directive into national law, which affects all companies on regulated markets in the European Economic Area, was 3 August.

Key changes affecting IR professionals include the rule that companies must answer valid questions from shareholders at a general meeting and a requirement for documents and other information related to a general meeting to be posted on the company’s website.

Most attention however has been devoted to the new rule stipulating that all general meetings must be held with at least 21 days notice.

Companies will be able to see the 21-day period be reduced to 14 provided certain conditions are met. The meeting must not be an annual general meeting. The rules also stipulate that shareholders must be able to vote electronically. Finally, there must be a resolution passed at the annual meeting that allows for the short notice period.