The rules still need to be approved by EU governments, but that is expected to be a formality following agreement by representatives of the 27 member states as well as the EC and the European Parliament.
Firms are currently required to report four times a year, which can create undue administration and lead to short-termism on markets, the European Commission said yesterday.
The change is part of a range of reforms on business transparency that also require firms active in the extraction industries - including oil, gas, mining and logging - to disclose payments they make to governments. Although less frequent publication of company results may appear to reduce transparency not improve it, EU officials and politicians said it would ensure smarter reporting.
While smaller companies are expected to seize the opportunity to scrap quarterly results announcements, saving management time and costs, large firms are mostly expected to keep to quarterly reporting calendars to satisfy shareholders.