Advisory Board

  • Cai Hongbin
  • Peking University Guanghua School of Management
  • Peter Clarke
  • Barry Diller
  • IAC/InterActiveCorp
  • Fu Chengyu
  • China National Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group)
  • Richard J. Gnodde
  • Goldman Sachs International
  • Lodewijk Hijmans van den Bergh
  • De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek N.V.
  • Jiang Jianqing
  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Ltd. (ICBC)
  • Handel Lee
  • King & Wood Mallesons
  • Richard Li
  • PCCW Limited
  • Pacific Century Group
  • Liew Mun Leong
  • Changi Airport Group
  • Martin Lipton
  • New York University
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
  • Liu Mingkang
  • China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC)
  • Dinesh C. Paliwal
  • Harman International Industries
  • Leon Pasternak
  • BCC Partners
  • Tim Payne
  • Brunswick Group
  • Joseph R. Perella
  • Perella Weinberg Partners
  • Baron David de Rothschild
  • N M Rothschild & Sons Limited
  • Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara
  • Temasek International Pte. Ltd.
  • Shao Ning
  • State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council of China (SASAC)
  • John W. Snow
  • Cerberus Capital Management, L.P.
  • Former U.S. Secretary of Treasury
  • Bharat Vasani
  • Tata Group
  • Wang Junfeng
  • King & Wood Mallesons
  • Wang Kejin
  • China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC)
  • Wei Jiafu
  • Kazakhstan Potash Corporation Limited
  • Yang Chao
  • China Life Insurance Co. Ltd.
  • Zhu Min
  • International Monetary Fund

Legal Roundtable

  • Dimitry Afanasiev
  • Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev and Partners (Moscow)
  • William T. Allen
  • NYU Stern School of Business
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz (New York)
  • Johan Aalto
  • Hannes Snellman Attorneys Ltd (Finland)
  • Nigel P. G. Boardman
  • Slaughter and May (London)
  • Willem J.L. Calkoen
  • NautaDutilh N.V. (Rotterdam)
  • Peter Callens
  • Loyens & Loeff (Brussels)
  • Bertrand Cardi
  • Darrois Villey Maillot & Brochier (Paris)
  • Santiago Carregal
  • Marval, O’Farrell & Mairal (Buenos Aires)
  • Martín Carrizosa
  • Philippi Prietocarrizosa & Uría (Bogotá)
  • Carlos G. Cordero G.
  • Aleman, Cordero, Galindo & Lee (Panama)
  • Ewen Crouch
  • Allens (Sydney)
  • Adam O. Emmerich
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz (New York)
  • Rachel Eng
  • WongPartnership (Singapore)
  • Sergio Erede
  • BonelliErede (Milan)
  • Kenichi Fujinawa
  • Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu (Tokyo)
  • Manuel Galicia Romero
  • Galicia Abogados (Mexico City)
  • Danny Gilbert
  • Gilbert + Tobin (Sydney)
  • Vladimíra Glatzová
  • Glatzová & Co. (Prague)
  • Juan Miguel Goenechea
  • Uría Menéndez (Madrid)
  • Andrey A. Goltsblat
  • Goltsblat BLP (Moscow)
  • Juan Francisco Gutiérrez I.
  • Philippi Prietocarrizosa & Uría (Santiago)
  • Fang He
  • Jun He Law Offices (Beijing)
  • Christian Herbst
  • Schönherr (Vienna)
  • Lodewijk Hijmans van den Bergh
  • De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek N.V. (Amsterdam)
  • Hein Hooghoudt
  • NautaDutilh N.V. (Amsterdam)
  • Sameer Huda
  • Hadef & Partners (Dubai)
  • Masakazu Iwakura
  • TMI Associates (Tokyo)
  • Christof Jäckle
  • Hengeler Mueller (Frankfurt)
  • Michael Mervyn Katz
  • Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs (Johannesburg)
  • Handel Lee
  • King & Wood Mallesons (Beijing)
  • Martin Lipton
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz (New York)
  • Alain Maillot
  • Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier (Paris)
  • Antônio Corrêa Meyer
  • Machado, Meyer, Sendacz e Opice (São Paulo)
  • Sergio Michelsen Jaramillo
  • Brigard & Urrutia (Bogotá)
  • Zia Mody
  • AZB & Partners (Mumbai)
  • Christopher Murray
  • Osler (Toronto)
  • Francisco Antunes Maciel Müssnich
  • Barbosa, Müssnich & Aragão (Rio de Janeiro)
  • I. Berl Nadler
  • Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP (Toronto)
  • Umberto Nicodano
  • BonelliErede (Milan)
  • Brian O'Gorman
  • Arthur Cox (Dublin)
  • Robin Panovka
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz (New York)
  • Sang-Yeol Park
  • Park & Partners (Seoul)
  • José Antonio Payet Puccio
  • Payet Rey Cauvi (Lima)
  • Kees Peijster
  • COFRA Holding AG (Zug)
  • Juan Martín Perrotto
  • Uría & Menéndez (Madrid/Beijing)
  • Philip Podzebenko
  • Herbert Smith Freehills (Sydney)
  • Geert Potjewijd
  • De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek (Amsterdam/Beijing)
  • Qi Adam Li
  • Jun He Law Offices (Shanghai)
  • Biörn Riese
  • Jurie Advokat AB (Sweden)
  • Mark Rigotti
  • Herbert Smith Freehills (Sydney)
  • Rafael Robles Miaja
  • Robles Miaja (Mexico City)
  • Alberto Saravalle
  • BonelliErede (Milan)
  • Maximilian Schiessl
  • Hengeler Mueller (Düsseldorf)
  • Cyril S. Shroff
  • Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (Mumbai)
  • Shardul S. Shroff
  • Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.(New Delhi)
  • Klaus Søgaard
  • Gorrissen Federspiel (Denmark)
  • Ezekiel Solomon
  • Allens (Sydney)
  • Emanuel P. Strehle
  • Hengeler Mueller (Munich)
  • David E. Tadmor
  • Tadmor & Co. (Tel Aviv)
  • Kevin J. Thomson
  • Barrick Gold Corporation (Toronto)
  • Yu Wakae
  • Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu (Tokyo)
  • Wang Junfeng
  • King & Wood Mallesons (Beijing)
  • Tomasz Wardynski
  • Wardynski & Partners (Warsaw)
  • Xiao Wei
  • Jun He Law Offices (Beijing)
  • Xu Ping
  • King & Wood Mallesons (Beijing)
  • Shuji Yanase
  • OK Corporation (Tokyo)
  • Alvin Yeo
  • WongPartnership LLP (Singapore)

Founding Directors

  • William T. Allen
  • NYU Stern School of Business
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
  • Nigel P.G. Boardman
  • Slaughter and May
  • Cai Hongbin
  • Peking University Guanghua School of Management
  • Adam O. Emmerich
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
  • Robin Panovka
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
  • Peter Williamson
  • Cambridge Judge Business School
  • Franny Yao
  • Ernst & Young

IRISH UPDATE – New legal regime for Irish companies due in 2015

 Editor’s Note:  Brian O’Gorman specialises in corporate finance with a particular emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, public takeovers, equity capital markets and private equity.  Suzanne Kearney, professional support lawyer at Arthur Cox, contributed to this article.

 Highlights: 

  • New legislation, the Companies Bill 2012 due to become law in early 2015 will consolidate Irish company law into one comprehensive piece of legislation.
  • The new company law regime will offer practical benefits and greater flexibility for Irish companies ranging from allowing companies to be incorporated more efficiently to radical reforms such as the introduction for the first time of domestic mergers and divisions.
  • It is anticipated that streamlining and simplifying company law obligations will make it easier for companies to conduct business in Ireland whether domestically, as part of cross border transactions or in ongoing multinational commercial operations.

MAIN ARTICLE

Introduction 

New legislation, the Companies Bill 2012 due to become law in early 2015, will consolidate and reform the law relating to Irish companies and provide a modern legal framework for Irish companies, their shareholders and officers.

It is anticipated that the new company law infrastructure will prove practical and user friendly for those dealing with Irish companies, from those acquiring or forming Irish entities to those engaging in cross border commercial transactions.

Key provisions: 

  • New Model Company – Registration Simplified

The private limited company, the most common corporate entity used by businesses in Ireland will be represented as the statutory default model “company limited by shares” (“LTD”). The LTD has been described as being conceptually similar to a Delaware LLC, reflecting that Ireland, like Delaware, is a hub of multinational and cross border corporate activity.

The LTD will have a single-document constitution, defaulting to the provisions of the legislation unless the constitution provides otherwise.  LTDs may be single director companies, omitting the need for companies to provide an additional director to fulfil the current statutory minimum of two.

It is anticipated that these developments will simplify the process and reduce the cost in incorporating a new company.

  • Contractual CertaintyFull & Unlimited Capacity

The legal doctrine of “ultra vires” (company acting outside its corporate authority) will no longer apply to LTDs which will have the same legal capacity as a natural person. This will aid commercial transactions as there will no longer be a requirement to engage in the process of establishing that a company has the appropriate authority to conduct a particular activity.

In addition contracting with an LTD will be greatly simplified as the board of directors will be deemed to have authority to bind a company there should be no necessity for the counterparty to review a board resolution.

  • Codification of Directors Duties

Directors’ pre-existing common law and statutory duties will for the first time be assembled together as a comprehensive code. This welcome development will assist in making duties more transparent and accessible to directors, in particular for non-Irish directors who join the board of a local entity.

  • Corporate Resolutions & Approval

There will be greater flexibility surrounding the holding of meetings and passing of corporate resolutions. Majority written ordinary and special resolutions will now be permitted for the first time and LTDs will no longer be required to hold a physical AGM.

The legislation also includes provisions which will simplify the execution of documents under power of attorney both in Ireland and outside the jurisdiction.

  • Debt/ Security Listing

LTDs will not be permitted to offer securities (equity or debt) to the public, which allows the laws relating to LTDs to be more straightforward. Entities wishing to do so may elect to register as a “designated activity company” and specific rules will apply to such companies.

  • Mergers & Divisions

The legislation will introduce a statutory mechanism for domestic mergers for the first time under Irish law, providing that two Irish private companies may merge so that the assets and liabilities (and corporate identity) of one are transferred to the other by operation of law, before the former is dissolved.

The merger may be effected without the necessity for a court order, which will have a positive impact on timing and cost.  It will also be possible for an Irish company to be “divided” so that its undertaking is split between two other Irish companies.

These new provisions will allow for greater flexibility in corporate restructurings including following an acquisition or as part of a group reorganisation.

  • Validation Procedure

A new “summary approval procedure” will allow companies to validate transactions which constitute “restricted activities” such as financial assistance in the acquisition of its own shares. The procedure may also be used to sanction certain activities which would previously have required High Court approval such as capital reductions, and as noted above will also apply to mergers.

  • Registration of Security

Irish law currently allows lenders to secure priority of loan security by filing particulars on the public register within 21 days of creation. A new optional two-stage security registration procedure will allow notification of the intention to create security in order to secure priority even before the charge is actually created.  As priority will rest with the creditor who has been the first to register the security interest this new process is likely to impact on M&A transactions where security is being granted e.g. to lending institutions.

  • Audit Exemption

Certain categories of company including guarantee companies and dormant companies will be exempt from audit requirements, a change which is welcomed by non-profit, charitable organisations and large multi-national groups.

  • Insolvency & Corporate Recovery

The law relating to receiverships, liquidations and examinership (the Irish law equivalent of “Chapter 11”) will be consolidated and updated.

  • Compliance & Enforcement

Increased disclosure requirements such as mandatory director compliance statements will help provide greater accountability and transparency.

What Happens Next?

The Irish Government has indicated that it is working towards having the legislation signed into law before the end of this year and in force by June 2015, following which there will be a transition period of 18 months.

Initially, the focus for Irish companies of both domestic and multinational origin, is likely to be on the provisions surrounding conversion. Existing private companies may “opt-in” to the new regime and register an LTD or “opt-out” and register as one of the other new types of company provided for in the legislation. At the end of the transition period any private limited companies who have not made an election will automatically become an LTD.

Conclusion

It is anticipated that streamlining and simplifying company law obligations will make it easier for companies to conduct business in Ireland whether domestically, in cross border transactions or as part of ongoing multinational commercial operations.

The views expressed herein are solely those of the author and have not been endorsed, confirmed, or approved by XBMA or any of the editors of XBMA Forum, nor by XBMA’s founders, members, contributors, academic partners, advisory board members, or others. No inference to the contrary should be drawn.

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