Daimler has postponed its annual shareholders meeting scheduled for 1 April.

"After weighing all aspects, especially the health of all participants and after the order of the responsible health department, [we have] decided not to hold the company's annual shareholders meeting as scheduled… but to postpone it to a later date in 2020," the automaker said in a statement.

"This will inevitably lead to a corresponding postponement of the resolution on the allocation of profit and of the dividend payment."

Daimler hoped to reschedule the meeting at the beginning of July.

It added: "The decision was taken against the background of the worldwide spread of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

"The Robert Koch Institute and the responsible health authorities in Germany assume that the number of infections will increase significantly in the coming weeks.

"The company places top priority on the health of its shareholders and employees, as well as of the service providers and guests at the annual meeting."

Last week, heavy truck and construction equipment maker Volvo AB scaled back its annual general meeting after Sweden's public health agency upgraded the risk of spread of the new coronavirus in the country and banned public gatherings of more than 500 people.

Volvo said its AGM would start as planned at 3.00pm on 8 April but registration would not begin until 2.15 pm. No food would be served, the customary product exhibition was cancelled and, to minimise the duration of the meeting, all speeches would be kept at a minimum or cancelled.

The CEO's speech would be published on the company website after the meeting. All questions would be "concentrated on issues relating to decision points on the agenda".

Shareholders would be encouraged to email more general questions to the company in advance of the AGM.

Participation by company management and the directors would be minimal.