COVID-19: Six listed companies suspend AGM as MTN withholds dividends

Six companies listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) have cancelled their Annual General Meetings (AGM) within a week as they make adjustments due to the impact of the coronavirus.

Most companies hold their AGMs in May in Ghana, but the impact of COVID-19 has compelled the firms to cancel the meetings.

Benso Oil Palm Plantation (BOPP), CAL Bank, Unilever, Fan Milk Limited, MTN Ghana and Total Petroleum Ghana Limited have all suspended the most crucial meeting in the year which brings all shareholders together for deliberations.

The decisions have been taken to conform to COVID-19 protocols which bar large gatherings that could foster the spread of the contagion.

The decisions were communicated to the GSE between May 1 and May 6.

Total Petroleum Ghana Limited was scheduled to have its AGM on May 21, while MTN Ghana was to have the conference on May 13.

Unilever had their AGM pegged on May 14, Fan Milk Limited on May 26, BOPP on May 15 and CAL Bank on May 6.

Meanwhile, telecommunication giant MTN has also served notice of deferral in the payment of 2019 dividends.

“Payment of the Final Dividend for 2019, and the payment date of May 25, 2020, as published in the Scancom Plc. (MTN Ghana) Annual Results for the year ended December 31 2019 (the “Annual Results”), are hereby also postponed until further notice.

“Kindly note that the Ex-dividend date of April 28, 2020, and the Qualifying date of April 30, 2020, published in the Annual Results remain unchanged,” Company Secretary, Mrs Pala Asiedu Ofori, noted in a statement.

MTN is one of the companies expected to cash in big due to the pandemic as several companies have asked their workers to work from home.

With a directive for the public to stay home coupled with a three-week lockdown in April, there has been an upsurge in the consumption of data.

Being the foremost telecommunication company in Ghana with the most subscribers and one of the few Internet Service Providers (ISP) offering 4G connectivity, the company is likely to reap the benefits of increased revenue.

It is, however, unclear if it will reflect in dividend increases for the first quarter of 2020.

Video: Ursula shuts down MTN office for violating COVID-19 protocols

Ghana has so far recorded 3, 091 cases with 303 recoveries and 18 deaths as at May 7.

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