The Report Stage of the Companies Bill, which commenced in the Dáil on 25 March and which adjourned shortly afterwards, was completed yesterday, 2 April 2014, when all of the remaining amendments tabled by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation were agreed to. The Final Stage was then taken, when the Bill, as agreed to be amended in the Report Stage, was passed by the Dáil.
The next step will be for the Bill to be sent to the Seanad for approval, although no date has yet been announced for this. The Seanad has 90 days to consider the Bill. Any amendments proposed in the Seanad will also have to be approved by the Dail.
The majority of the changes proposed and agreed to during the resumed Report Stage are of a technical nature, or are being inserted for the purposes of clarification. One interesting provision relates to public limited companies which have issued bearer shares. The ability to issue bearer shares is being abolished, and transitional provisions are being introduced to deal with the situation where any such bearer shares have been issued by public limited companies prior to the commencement of the Bill. However, such transitional provisions do not appear to be applicable in the case of private limited companies which may have issued bearer shares.