Enacy Mapakame Business Reporter
The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) has given a 30-day reprieve to listed firms whose publication of financial results was initially due the end of this month, as businesses across sectors have been severely disrupted by the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
This means companies whose half year or full year results to December 31, 2019 that were supposed to release results by March 31, 2019 can now do so by April 30, 2019.
This also comes as listed companies have been issuing cautionary statements warning that they may not be able to meet financial reporting deadline of March 31, due to disruptions caused by Covid-19, prompting the local bourse to issue out another 30 days for companies to finalise their financials.
Business operations have been disturbed by the outbreak of the Covid-19 resulting in companies downscaling operations especially for non-essential services, reducing number of people at offices, while others have adopted virtual offices as part of efforts to reduce the spread of the virus.
“Issuers whose half year or full year financial period ended on 31 December 2019 and are due for publication by 31 March 2020, are hereby granted a 30 day compliance grace period to April 30 2020,” said ZSE chief executive Justin Bgoni.
Zimbabwe has so far confirmed three cases of Covid-19. As a result, Government has come up with measures to limit the spread of the virus, which was declared a global pandemic on March 11, 2020 by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
President Mnangagwa also declared it a National Disaster through Statutory Instrument 27 of 2020.
Some of the measures put in place include restriction of certain movements, while gatherings of over 50 people have also been prohibited.
As such, the ZSE also advised firms to comply with this proclamation limiting attendee numbers for functions such as meetings, in cases where the companies wanted to hold Annual General Meetings (AGMs).
“The country is therefore in an emergency mode and our interpretation is that AGMs, which are likely to be attended by 50 or more people are accordingly banned.
“If you are not sure, you may proceed to make an application to delay the holding of your AGM through the Registrar of Companies citing the foregoing reasons or any other reasons you might have in support of your application,” the ZSE said.
Meanwhile, the local bourse will remain open with normal trading but implementing precautionary measures to assist in the containment of the virus such as temporary suspension of receipt of physical documents.
The bourse is encouraging the use of e-commerce and as such, will be closed to all outside visitors with immediate effect until the situation normalises.
Said Mr Bgoni: “We therefore encourage our stakeholders to interact with us through email and our social media platforms.
“The ZSE remains committed to creating an environment that is safe for its stakeholders and employees. We encourage everyone to take the necessary precautionary measures and be vigilant during this trying time.”
Coronavirus that started in China, has spread to over 90 countries, killing over 11 000 people, while hundreds of thousands are battling for life.