The Companies (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Covid-19) Act 2020 (Act) introduced amendments to the Companies Act 2014 (CA 2014) to deal with issues arising because of Covid-19, including its company solvency provisions. The amendments apply during a temporary period defined as the “interim period”, a period when certain legislative regimes for companies are varied. The interim period has been extended on a number of occasions and is due to expire on 30 April 2022. See our previous updates here and here.
The government has now approved a further extension of the interim period to 31 December 2022. Therefore, the changes made by the Act to the CA 2014 will continue to apply until this extended date. These changes include:
- Examinership: for companies in examinership, the court has a discretion where exceptional circumstances exist in respect of the company, to extend the period of court protection up to 150 days. The High Court recently confirmed in Premier Periclase Ltd v Companies Act 2014 IEHC 217, that exceptional circumstances is not confined to matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Winding up: the Act increases the threshold at which a company is deemed unable to pay its debts to €50,000.
The extension of the interim period is positive. In addition to the solvency-related amendments, documents required to be executed under seal may be executed in counterpart during the interim period, and company general meetings and creditors meetings may continue to be held virtually.
Contributed by Gail Nohilly