Bombardier Inc. has postponed its annual shareholders meeting indefinitely because of restrictions brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, breaking from several other big Canadian companies still sticking with their original meeting timelines.
Montreal-based Bombardier confirmed in a regulatory filing Thursday that it would reschedule the meeting, planned for May 7, to an unspecified date in the future.
“Due to strict guidelines and rules to be followed to protect the health and safety of shareholders, staff and media, we have concluded that conditions are currently not in place to hold the meeting on May 7. We have decided to postponed by a few weeks, as the laws and regulations allow us to do,” Bombardier spokesman Olivier Marcil said.
Bombardier’s first-quarter results will still be released on May 7, Mr. Marcil said.
He said the company is examining holding a virtual meeting and will inform stakeholders and the public of the new date as soon as possible.
Provincial regulators have relaxed rules in recent weeks to permit corporations to hold internet-based annual meetings and corporations, including Canada’s Big Six banks, are aiming to do just that.
It’s less common to postpone the meeting entirely with no new date. At least two smaller companies, Boyd Group and goeasy Ltd., have done that but Bombardier might be the first company in the S&P/TSX 60 index of large Canadian stocks to postpone its annual meeting indefinitely.
The Toronto Stock Exchange has relaxed its rules to allow issuers to hold their regular annual shareholder meeting any time until the end of 2020. But Bombardier is also governed by the Canada Corporations Act and the Quebec Securities Act, which do not make blanket exceptions, Mr. Marcil said. That means its annual meeting needs to be held by June 30.
Bombardier shareholders are waiting for details on the financial exit package of former chief executive officer Alain Bellemare, who left the company last month. He was replaced by Eric Martel, who is scheduled to start work officially next week.
The plane and train maker is grappling with several plant closures in both Canada and Europe as authorities order the shutdown of non-essential services. It also faces uncertain prospects for business jet sales in the months ahead.
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