The Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment has published the Shareholders Rights (Directive 2007/36/EC) Regulations 2009 . The Regulations are effective from 6 August 2009 and give effect to the Shareholders Rights Directive 2007/36/EC which introduces new rights for shareholders and provides for timely access to company information.

The Regulations apply to companies that have their registered office in the State and whose shares are admitting to trading on a regulated market situated on or operating within a member state. The Regulations make a number of amendments to existing company law provisions and are to be read as one with the Companies Acts.

Amongst the changes introduced by the Regulations are:

  • provisions for shareholder participation across borders without the need to physically attend meetings;
  • provisions obliging companies to answer shareholders questions at general meetings;
  • provisions obliging companies to publish documents and information regarding a general meeting on their website including the result of votes taken;
  • provisions allowing shareholders representing at least 5 per cent of the voting shares in a company the right to call a general meeting;
  • provisions allowing shareholders representing at least 3 per cent of the voting shares in a company the right to put items on the agenda and table draft resolutions for a general meeting;
  • provisions strengthening shareholders rights in relation to the appointment of proxies at general meetings.

The Regulations also abolish share blocking – a prohibition on trading in shares in the run up to a meeting by shareholders intent on participating and voting at such a meeting.