First and Final Dividend for the year ended December 31, 2020 to be Satisfied Partly by the Distribution of Cash and Partly by the Allotment and Issue of New Shares.
COVID-19 had an impact on Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC (the ‘Company’) during the year in terms of disruptions to its operations, customer service and its profitability and is likely to have potential impacts in the future as well. The Company strictly adhered to the guidelines given by the health authorities when conducting its operations. Also, the Company complied with the Directions and guidelines issued by the regulator, Central Bank of Sri Lanka and granted concessions to the affected customers. In addition, the Company extended further concessions to the affected customers at the discretion of the Company in terms of interest rebates, extended repayment periods and working capital funding via the Company’s own schemes. The impact of COVID-19 has been extensively discussed and appropriate disclosures have been made in the Annual Report 2020.
Nevertheless, the Board of Directors of the Company, is pleased to inform its Shareholders that, a first and final dividend distribution of Rs. 6.50 per each existing issued and fully paid ordinary (voting) and (non-voting) share has been recommended for the financial year ended December 31, 2020, for due declaration by the Shareholders at the Annual General Meeting (‘AGM’) to be held on March 30, 2021 (the date of the AGM) at 10.30 a.m. at the Auditorium of Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC, 9th Floor, Union Place Branch Building, No. 01 Union Place, Colombo 02, virtually, by using a digital platform and such dividend so declared be paid out of the profits of the Company for the financial year ended December 31, 2020, which would be subject to applicable government taxes.
The Board of Directors is confident that, the Company will be able to satisfy the solvency test set out in Section 57 of the Companies Act No. 07 of 2007 (as amended) [‘CA 2007’] immediately post-payment of such dividend. A Certificate of Solvency has been provided by the Company’s Auditors, Messrs Ernst & Young, Chartered Accountants.
Subject to obtaining the approval of the Shareholders, the said dividend will be satisfied in accordance with a distribution scheme whereby:
Accordingly, and in pursuance of the aforesaid distribution scheme, the Company proposes to issue:
An announcement will be made by the Company three market days prior to the date of the AGM on the final number of ordinary (voting) and (non-voting) shares to be issued in satisfaction of the said dividend.
The said shares shall be issued in the following ratios to the entitled Shareholders of the Company:
The above share ratio is based on a value of Rs. 87.70 per ordinary (voting) share and Rs. 76.80 per ordinary (non-voting) share (subject to applicable government taxes) as at the end of trading on February 16, 2021. The Board of Directors is satisfied that the aforementioned values which constitute the consideration for which the new shares are to be allotted and issued is fair and reasonable to the Company and to all its existing Shareholders.
Shareholders entitled to participate in the said dividend (the ‘entitled shareholders’) are those who are duly registered in the Company’s Share Register and also those shareholders whose names appear on the Central Depository Systems (Pvt) Ltd (‘CDS’) as at end of trading on the date on which the requisite resolution of the shareholders in this regard is duly passed.
In calculating the number of shares held by a shareholder as at the relevant date for the proposed allotment and issue of new shares, the shareholding of the shareholder as appearing in the CDS and the Shareholders’ Register maintained by the Registrars of the Company [SSP Corporate Services (Pvt) Ltd, No. 101, Inner Flower Road, Colombo 03] will not be aggregated. However, if a shareholder holds shares with multiple stockbrokers, the shares held with multiple stockbrokers will be aggregated for calculation purposes, and the shares arising as a result of the proposed issue and allotment of new shares will be uploaded proportionately to the respective CDS accounts held with each broker. The Company has obtained the approval in principle of the Colombo Stock Exchange (‘CSE’) for the proposed allotment and issue of new shares.
The residual fractions arising from the aforementioned allotment and issue of new ordinary (voting) and (non-voting) shares respectively, will be aggregated and the shares arising consequent thereto will, subject to receiving the approval of the Shareholders therefor, be allotted to Trustees to be nominated by the Board of Directors. The Trustees so nominated, will hold the said shares in trust until such shares are sold by the Trustees on the trading floor of the CSE. The net sale proceeds arising therefrom shall, subject to receiving the approval of the Shareholders therefor, be distributed to a charity/charities approved by the Board of Directors. The sale of such shares will be effected by the Company within a reasonable period of time, following the date on which the approval of the Shareholders has been obtained in this regard.
Residual fractions of ordinary (voting) and (non-voting) shares above-mentioned shall mean the above-mentioned fractions arising after applying the following formulas respectively:
For voting shareholders –
| Number of shares held by a shareholder
as at end of trading on the AGM date X 1
|For non-voting shareholders –|
| Number of shares held by a shareholder
as at end of trading on the AGM date X 1
The new ordinary (voting) and (non-voting) shares to be so issued, immediately consequent to due allotment thereof to the entitled Shareholders, shall rank equal and pari passu in all respects with the existing issued and fully paid ordinary (voting) and (non-voting) shares, respectively, of the Company.
An application has been made to the CSE for listing the new ordinary (voting) and (non-voting) shares on the official list of the CSE. This application has been approved ‘in principle’ by the CSE. The Company will obtain approval of the Department of Foreign Exchange of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in principle for the allotment and issue of the new ordinary (voting) and (non-voting) shares to the Company’s non-resident Shareholders, where applicable.
The proposed method of satisfying the abovementioned first and final dividend is subject to Shareholders granting approval therefor by passing the resolutions set out in the attached Notice of Meeting pertaining to the following matters:
Article 124 of the Company’s Articles of Association provides, in effect, that, subject to the provisions of CA 2007, the Board is empowered to pay a dividend or otherwise make a distribution in whole or in part by the distribution of specific assets and in particular of paid up shares. In pursuance of principles of transparency, the Board seeks the authorization of Shareholders for the satisfaction of the first and final dividend by the issue of new ordinary (voting) and (non-voting) shares in the manner set out above. The relevant ordinary resolution to be passed by the Shareholders in this regard is set out in item 2(i) of the attached Notice of Meeting.
In terms of Article 9 A of the Company’s Articles of Association, any issue of shares beyond 500,000 shares must be first offered to the Shareholders in proportion to their holding at the time of the offer, unless otherwise authorized by an ordinary resolution of the Company.
As mentioned previously, the first and final dividend is proposed to be satisfied, by the allotment and issue of new ordinary (voting) and (non-voting) shares in the manner set out above and on the above-mentioned application of the above-mentioned share proportion. The said allotment and issue of new shares would accordingly be in excess of 500,000 shares. As such, the authorization of Shareholders is sought under and in terms of the above-mentioned Article 9 A for the waiver by Shareholders of their pre-emption rights to the new shares to be issued exceeding 500,000 ordinary (voting) and (non-voting) shares. The relevant ordinary resolution to be passed by the Shareholders in this regard is set out in item 2(ii) of the attached Notice of Meeting.
Alteration of Shareholder Rights [Section 99 of the CA 2007 and Article 10 of the Articles of Association]:
The Company is required, in compliance with the above provisions, to seek Shareholder approval by a special resolution for the proposed method of satisfaction of the first and final dividend by an allotment and issue of new ordinary (voting) and (non-voting) shares in the manner set out above. The relevant special resolution to be passed by the Shareholders in this regard is set out in item 2(iii) of the attached Notice of Meeting.
The Board of Directors hereby confirms that the allotment and issue of new shares is in compliance with the Articles of Association of the Company, the Listing Rules of the CSE and the provisions of the CA 2007.
The Board of Directors emphasizes that the aforementioned allotment and issue of new shares is in part satisfaction of the first and final dividend for the year ended December 31, 2020 and shall be dependent on and subject to the Shareholders passing the requisite resolutions.
In the event that the requisite resolution declaring the dividend [including its manner of satisfaction thereof] by way of the issue and allotment of new shares is passed by the Shareholders, the accounts of the Shareholders whose shares are deposited in the CDS would be directly uploaded with the new shares to the extent that such Shareholder has become entitled thereto.
The shares would be uploaded within seven (07) market days from and excluding the date on which the requisite resolutions are passed. If a Shareholder holds multiple CDS accounts the total entitlement will be directly deposited to the respective CDS accounts proportionately. Pursuant to a Direction issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (‘SEC’) pertaining to the de-materialisation of listed securities, the Shareholders who hold shares in scrip form (i.e. Share Certificates) as per the Share Register maintained by the Registrars of the Company, will not be issued Share Certificates for the new shares allotted and issued in their favour. Such Shareholders are accordingly requested to open an account with the CDS and to deposit their Share Certificates in the CDS prior to the date of the AGM of the Company. This will enable the Company to deposit the new shares directly into the Shareholder’s CDS Account.
If a Shareholder fails to deposit his/her existing ordinary (voting) and/or (non-voting) shares in the CDS prior to the date of the AGM, such Shareholder’s entitlement of new ordinary (voting) and/or (non-voting) shares will be deposited by the Company after such Shareholder has opened a CDS Account and has informed the Company’s Registrars in writing of his/her CDS account number. Until such CDS account is opened by a Shareholder as aforementioned, the new ordinary (voting) and (non-voting) shares that are allotted in his/her favour will be registered in such shareholder’s account in the Share Register maintained by the Registrars of the Company (subject to compliance with the requirements of the Department of Foreign Exchange of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka as may be applicable in respect of non-resident shareholders). Consequent to the opening of the CDS account by such Shareholder, the new shares will be credited to such CDS account. Direct uploads pertaining to written requests received from Shareholders to deposit such shares will be done on a weekly basis.
Attached hereto is the Annual Report comprising the Notice convening the AGM for March 30, 2021 and setting out in item 2 thereof, the relevant resolution to be passed by the Shareholders in the above regard.
Shareholders who are unable to participate at the meeting by virtual means are entitled to appoint a proxy to participate at the said meeting by virtual means and speak and also vote on their behalf, depending on their voting rights. If you wish to appoint such a proxy, kindly complete and return the enclosed Form of Proxy (in accordance with instructions specified therein) to the Company by facsimile on 0112332317 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Company Secretary, Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC, “Commercial House”, No. 21, Sir Razik Fareed Mawatha, Colombo 01, not later than forty eight (48) hours before the time appointed for the holding of the AGM.
By Order of the Board of Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC
R A P Rajapaksha
March 5, 2021