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The Societas Europaea in Relation to the Public Corporation of Five Member States (France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Austria)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 February 2009

Marie-Agnes Arlt
Affiliation:
Mag. iur., research assistant at the University of Economics and Business Administration, Vienna.
Cécile Bervoets
Affiliation:
Mag. iur., research assistant at the University of Economics and Business Administration, Vienna; assistant lecturer, Vienna University.
Kristoffel Grechenig
Affiliation:
Mag. iur., research assistant at the University of Economics and Business Administration, Vienna.
Susanne Kalss
Affiliation:
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Susanne Kalss, University Klagenfurt. Prof. Kalss is head of a research project on corporations (START-Project funded by the Austrian Fund of Science).
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Extract

The idea of the European Company (Societas Europaea, SE) is almost as old as the European Community. In 1959 the idea was initially formulated by Pieter Sanders and by Thibièrge. In fact, however, the idea is much older. As early as 1926 this notion was discussed during the 34th German Conference of Lawyers (Deutscher Juristentag) in Cologne. Altogether there were four drafts of regulations for a European Company in the years 1966, 1972/1974, and 1988/1991. In December 2000, after lengthy negotiations, the European Council approved the European Company, and the draft legislation passed the European Parliament in October 2001. While the first draft contained more than 400 paragraphs, the last one regulates the SE by a Regulation, consisting of only 70 articles and a supplementing directive. By 2004, the national legislators have to implement the Directive, which concerns the employees' co-determination, and, in addition, have to enact complementary and amplifying acts.

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Copyright © T.M.C. Asser Press and the Authors 2002

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References

1 See Sanders, , “Auf dem Wege zu einer Europäischen Aktiengesellschaft”, AWD (RIW) (1960) pp. 1 et seq.Google Scholar

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4 See before Sanders, supra n. 1.

5 See Lutter, , Die Europäische Aktiengesellschaft (Köln 1978)Google Scholar; Zawischa, , “Die Entwicklung des Gesellschaftsrechts in der EWG. 2. Teil. Die Europäische Aktiengesellschaft und andere Merkmale der Integration europäischer Unternehmen” in: Schwind, Probleme des Europäischen Gemeinschaftsrechts (Wien 1976), p. 220Google Scholar; before Kastner, supra n. 3.

6 See Schwarz, , Europäisches Gesellschaftsrecht (Nomos 2000) 644, No. 1088 et seq.Google Scholar

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8 Regulation n° 2157/2001 of the council of 8 October 2001, OJ(EC) [2001] L 294/1.

9 Directive 2001/86/EC of 8 October 2001, OJ(EC) L [2001] 294/22.

10 See Teichmann, , “Die Einführung der Europäischen Aktiengesellschaft. Grundlagen der Ergänzung des europäischen Statuts durch den deutschen Gesetzgeber”, ZGR (2002) pp. 392 et seqGoogle Scholar.; Teichmann, , “Vorschläge für das deutsche Ausführungsgesetz zur Europäischen Aktiengesellschaft”, ZIP (2002) pp. 1109 et seq.Google Scholar

11 Teichmann, ZGR (2002), supra n. 10, at pp. 395 et seq.

12 Art. 9 Council Directive; see Hommelhoff, /Teichmann, , “Die europäische Aktiengesellschaft – das Flaggschiff läuft vom Stapel”, SZW/RSDA (2002) 10Google Scholar; Teichmann, ZGR (2002), supra n. 10, p. 395, pp. 455 et seq.; Schwarz, , “Zum Statut der Europäischen Aktiengesellschaft”, ZIP (2001) p. 1849Google Scholar; Schnyder, , “Zur Societas Europea (SE) – Wendepunkt im europäischen Gesellschaftsrecht?”, in: Festschrift Druey (Schulthess 2002) pp. 569 et seq.Google Scholar

13 Torggler, , “Zur Europäischen Gesellschaft (SE)”, ecolex (2001) pp. 442, 443Google Scholar; Hommelhoff, supra n. 7, p. 279; Teichmann, ZGR (2002), supra n. 10, pp. 383, 391.

14 Hommelhoff, supra n. 7, p. 285.

15 Therefore, these norms have to exist in the national legal framework.

16 Cf. Kalss, /Burger, /Eckert, , Entwicklung des österreichischen Aktienrechts – Geschichte und Materialien (Linde 2002)Google Scholar; Doralt, , “Die Europäische Aktiengesellschaft (SE) und die Zukunft des österreichischen Aktienrechts”, Walther-Kastner-Symposion, Vienna 28 June 2002 (in print)Google Scholar; cf. also Torggler, , “Zur Europäischen Gesellschaft (SE) I”, ecolex (2001) p. 448.Google Scholar

17 Doralt, ibid.

18 Cf. Hommelhoff, supra n. 7, pp. 284 et seq.; Hommelhoff/Teichmann, supra n. 12; Teichmann, ZGR (2002), supra n. 10, pp. 383, 390; Blanquet, , “Das Statut der Europäischen Aktiengesellschaft (‘Societas Europaea’, SE). Ein Gemeinschaftsinstrument für die grenzübergreifende Zusammenarbeit im Dienste der Unternehmen”, ZGR (2002) 34, pp. 46 et seqGoogle Scholar.; cf. also Wenger, , “Die europäische (Aktien-) Gesellschaft (SE) wird Realität”, RWZ (2001) p. 320.Google Scholar

19 Grundmann, , “Regulatory Competition in European Company Law – Some different genius?”, in: Ferrarini/Hopt/Wymeersch, Capital Markets in the Age of the Euro. Cross-border Transactions, Listed Companies and Regulation (The Hague: Kluwer Law International 2002) pp. 562 et seq.Google Scholar

20 Grundmann, supra n. 19, with further references; Wouters, , “European company law: Quo vadis?37 CMLRev. (2000) 257, pp. 269 et seq.Google Scholar

21 See generally Kieninger, , Wettbewerb der Privatrechtsordnungen im Europäischen Binnenmarkt (Mohr Siebeck 2002)Google Scholar; Grundmann, , “Wettbewerb der Regelgeber im Europäischen Gesellschaftsrecht – jedes Marktsegment hat seine Struktur”, ZGR (2001) pp. 783 et seqGoogle Scholar.; in particular, concerning the SE, see: Teichmann, ZGR (2002), supra n. 10, pp. 383, 400; Grundmann, supra n. 19, p. 565.

22 See various reasons Grundmann, supra n. 19, pp. 565 et seq.

23 Recital 1; Blanquet, supra n. 18, pp. 34 et seq.

24 See recital, Hommelhoff, supra n. 7, pp. 284 et seq.

25 Artmann, , “Die Organisationsverfassung der Europäischen Aktiengesellschaft”, wirtschaftsrechtliche blätter (2002) pp. 190 et seqGoogle Scholar., Hommelhoff, supra n. 7, pp. 282 et seq.; Hopt, , “Europäische Aktiengesellschaft – per aspera ad astra”, EuZW (1/2002) editorial, p. 1Google Scholar; Teichmann, ZGR (2002), supra n. 10, p. 383, p. 441.

26 Hopt, supra n. 25; another opinion says that there is only a choice between the two systems if the national law provides for this possibility; Torggler, , “Zur europäishen Gesellschaft (SE) II”, ecolex (2001) p. 533Google Scholar; Wenger, supra n. 18, p. 319.

27 Cf. Heinze, supra n. 2; Pluskat, , “Die Arbeitnehmerbeteiligung in der geplanten Europäischen Aktiengesellschaft”, DStR (2001) p. 1483.Google Scholar

28 See Kalss/Burger/Eckert, supra n. 16.

29 Second Council Directive 77/91/EEC of 13 December 1976 on coordination of safeguards which, for the protection of the interests of members and others are required by Member States of companies within the meaning of the second paragraph of Art. 58 of the Treaty, in respect of the formation of public limited liability companies and the maintenance and alteration of their capital, with a view to making such safeguards equivalent; Hopt, /Wymeersch, , European Company and Financial Law, 2nd ed. (Berlin: de Gruyter 1994) pp. 165 et seqGoogle Scholar.; cf. Habersack, , Europäisches Gesellschaftsrecht (München: Beck 1999) no. 135, pp. 74 et seq.Google Scholar

30 The société anonyme, the oldest kind of French company, is the French companion piece to the German and Austrian Aktiengesellschaft (AG) and the English public limited company (plc). The SA was first regulated in the Commercial Code 1807; Lehmann, , Das Recht der Aktiengesellschaften, vol. II (Aalen: Scientia 1964) p. 68Google Scholar; Kalss/Burger/Eckert, supra n. 16.

31 Cf. at the same time about 7,900 in the USA and 900 in Germany; Fédération Internationale des Bourses de Valeurs <www.vernimmen.net>.

32 <http://www.bourse-de-paris.fr/fr/index_fs.htm?nc=3&ni=6&nom=indice>.

33 Information provided on request by Finance d'entreprise.

34 After the Second World War, the French state played an active role in commerce. The last big nationalisation took place in 1982 under the government of François Mitterand. Only under the influence of the economy's globalisation did France start a privatisation program in the second half of the 1980s; Mojuyé, , “French Corporate Governance in the new millennium: Who watches the board in Corporate France?”, Columbia Journal of European Law (6/2000) pp. 77 et seqGoogle Scholar.; Bloch, /Kremp, , “Ownership and Voting in France”, in: Barca, /Becht, (eds.), The Control of Corporate Europe (New York: Oxford University Press 2001) pp. 109 et seq.Google Scholar

35 Kremp, /Sevestre, , “France”, in: Gugler, Corporate Governance and Economic Performance (New York: Oxford University Press 2001) p. 122Google Scholar; Mojuyé, supra n. 34, p. 75.

36 Becht/Röell, “Blockholdings in Europe: An international comparison”, published at <www.ecgi.org>.

37 Act n° 94-1 of 3 January 1994.

38 Cozian, /Viandier, /Deboissy, , Droit des sociétés, 13th ed. (Paris: Litec 2000) No. 1232.Google Scholar

39 Art. L 225-1 et seq. C. com.

40 Décret n° 67-236 C. com.

41 The companies were regulated in the Loi sur les sociétés commerciales (loi n° 66-537 du 24 juillet 1966) which was integrated in the Commercial Code in January 2001 (Ordonnance n° 2000–912 du 18 septembre 2000).

42 Loi n° 2001–420 du 15 mai 2001.

43 The first Code named Viénot I was published in 1995, the second, Viénot II, in 1999 published at <http.//www.ecgi.de/codes/menu_europe.htm>.

44 Marini, , “La modernisation du droit des sociétés. Rapport au Premier ministre” (Paris: documentation française 1996).Google Scholar

45 For instance, the NRE Act introduced the possibility of video conferences, cf. Art. L 225–82 C. com.

46 For a general overview, Mercadal, /Janin, , Sociétés commerciales 2001 (Levallois: Éditions Francis Lefebvre 2001) No. 7012.Google Scholar

47 Art. L 225-20 et seq. C. com.

48 Art. L 225-57 et seq. C. com.

49 Because of his executive and representative powers as president and his nomination as president of the board of directors at the same time, the president of the traditional unitary system is also entitled président-directeur général (P-DG).

50 Art. L 225-53 C. com.

51 The French legislator uses the word assister – these general managers have to assist the president.

52 Art. L 225-17 C. com; The NRE Act diminished the number from 25 to 18 so that the board is able to work more concertedly and effectively.

53 Since the NRE Act, the statute has to determine freely the percentage and/or the number of shares a board member has to hold; Art. L 225-25 C. com.

54 The legal entity has to nominate a natural person as a permanent representative; Art. L 225-20.

55 Art. L 225-35 C. com.

56 With these and other norms the French legislator purports to increase the efficiency and flexibility of the organs.

57 Cf. Art. L 225-52, 225-52-1 para. 3 C com; cf. Storp, , “Reform des französischen Unternehmensrechts im Rahmen des ‘Gesetzes ¨ber Neue Wirtschaftliche Regulierungen’ vom 15.5.2001”, RIW (2002) p. 413.Google Scholar

58 Art. L 225-57 C. com.

59 If there is only one member, it is titled directeur général unique; Art. L 225-59 C. com.

60 In the case that the capital of the company is less than 150,000 there may be only one director; Art. L 225-69 C. com.

61 In general, five is the maximum. Only if the shares of a thus organised S A are traded at an exchange, marché réglémenté, the statutes may raise the number to seven; Art. L 225-69 C. com.

62 Art. L 225-58 C. com.

63 Ils peuvent être choisis en dehors des actionnaires.

64 Art. L 225-61 C. com; Until the NRE Act, the recall had to be proposed to the shareholders' meeting by the supervisory board.

65 The supervisory board appoints one member as its president and one as vice-president. Both have to be natural persons. Their assignment is to convene and preside over the sessions.

66 If the employees hold more than 3% of the company's capital, one or several employees can be nominated as members of the supervisory board by the shareholders' meeting, for which the statutes must make provision as soon as the named threshold is exceeded. If such a clause is not introduced into the statutes, every employee-shareholder may go to court. By the way, in this case the legal costs have to be paid by the members of the management board; additionally, the statutes may provide for other representatives of the employees. At the most there may be four representatives, or a third of the supervisory board's members; see Art. L 225-71, 225-72 C. com.

67 The duration of the mandate may not extend six years, respectively three for the members nominated by the statutes; Art. L 225-69, 225-75 C. com.

68 The power of control is supported by the power to demand information. At least once in a quarter the management board has to present a report to the supervisory board, and, after each accounting year, different documents enumerated by Art. L 225-100 C. com must be presented.

69 Art. L 225-68 C. com.

70 Art. L 225-68 C. com which deals with permanent control.

71 Art. L 225-78 C. com.

72 Art. L 225-60 C. com.

73 Art. L 225-66 C. com.

74 Cf. Art. L 225-64, 225-66 C. com.

75 Périn, , La société par actions simplifiée. L'organisation des pouvoirs (Paris: Joly 2000)Google Scholar; Hirschmann, , Neue Gestaltungsfreiheit im französischen Gesellschaftsrecht: Die Société par actions simplifée (SAS). Ein Rechtsinstitut zur Unternehmenskooperation und Umstrukturierung im Konzern (Berlin: Duncker & Humbolt 2001)Google Scholar; Paillusseau, /Theimer, /Outin, Adam/Tran, , La société par actions simplifiée: une structure de coopération pour les PME (JCP éd. E 1/2001) p. 11Google Scholar; Baudeu, , “La Société par actions simplifiée, S.A.S. Commentaire de la loi du 3 Janvier 1994 et éléments de clauses statuaires”, Petites Affiches n° 55, 9.5.1994.Google Scholar

76 Cf. Reumont, , “La société par actions simplifiée. Premières expériences et premières difficultés”, Petites Affiches, n°140, 20.11.1996.Google Scholar

77 See Art. L. 227–6 and 227–9 C. com.

78 Cf. Hirschmann, supra n. 75, p. 114.

79 Guyon, , Droit des affaires (I). Droit commercial général et des Sociétés, 11th ed., (Paris: Economica 2001) pp. 510 et seq.Google Scholar

80 For the statutory limits see Guyon, supra n. 79, pp. 513 et seq.

81 Bianchi, /Bianco, /Enriques, , “Pyramidical Groups and the Separation of Ownership and Control in Italy”Google Scholar, in: Barca/Becht, supra n. 34, p. 154; Wymeersch, , “A Status Report on Corporate Governance Rules and Practices in Some Continental European States”Google Scholar, in: Hopt, /Kanda, /Wymeersch, /Roe, /Prigge, , Comparative Corporate Governance (Oxford: OUP 1998) p. 1164Google Scholar; see also Bianchi, , “Private Companies in Europe: The Italian Perspective”, in: De Kluiver/van Gerven, The European Private Company? (Antwerpen: Maklu 1995) p. 45.Google Scholar

82 See, for example, the data given by Weigmann, , “Aspekte des Italiänischen Gesellschaftsrechts unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Börsennotierten Aktiengesellschaft als reinen Gesellschaftstyps”, in: Festschrift Lutter (Köln: Otto-Schmidt 2000) 203, 207Google Scholar and Colombo, , “Die Buchführungskontrolle über die notierten Gesellschaften in Italien nach Erlaß des T.U.F. 1998”, in: Festschrift Lutter (Koln: Otto-Schmidt 2000), p. 343.Google Scholar

83 Gazetta Ufficiale 1998 no. 58.

84 See Arlt, /Bervoets, /Grechenig, /Kalss, , “Die europäische Corporate-Governance-Bewegung (Frankreich, Niederlande, Spanien, Italien)”, GesRZ-SH (2002) pp. 70 et seq.Google Scholar

85 LEGGE 3 ottobre 2001, n. 366 Gazzetta Ufficiale n. 234 del 08-10-2001.

86 Decreto Legislative approvato dal Consiglio dei Ministri il 10-01-2003, recante “Riforma organica della disciplina delle società di capitali e società cooperative, in attuazione della legge 3 ottobre 2001, n. 366” in corso di pubblicazione in Gazzetta ufficiale; see II sole-24 ORE, 17 gennaio 2003; Salafia, , “Lo schema di disegno di legge delega per la riforma del diritto societario”, La società (2000) pp. 7 et seqGoogle Scholar.; Sacchi, , “Sui gruppi nel Proteggo Mirone”, Giur. comm. (2000) pp. 358 et seqGoogle Scholar.; see also Riv. Soc. (2002) pp. 27 et seq.; Padovini, , “Aktueller Stand des italienischen Gesellschaftsrechts: Die neueste Gesetzesnovelle für die Reform”, Der Gesellschafter (2/2002) pp. 72 et seqGoogle Scholar.; Padovini, , “Die Gesellschaftsrechtliche Ermächtigung 6 vom 3. Oktober 2001 – wesentlicher Reglungsinhalt, zükiinftige Gestaltung und Fragen des Glaubigerschutzes”, in: Kalss, (ed.), Gläubigerschutz im österreichischen, italienischen und slowenischen Recht (2002) (in print).Google Scholar

87 Weil, /Gotshal, /Manges, , “Discussion of Individual Corporate Governance Codes Relevant To The European Union And Its Member States”Google Scholar, Annex IV, 148 published at <http://eiiropa.eu.int/comm/intemal_markete/en/company/company/news/corp-gov-codes-rpt_en.pdf>.

88 See Arlt/Bervoets/Grechenig/Kalss, supra n. 84, p. 64, p. 72; Weil/Gotshal/Manges, supra n. 87.

89 Kronke, , “Konditionierung der Unternehmensverfassung von Publikumsgesellschaften durch ‘Soft Law’ – Deutschland und Italien im Vergleich –”, in: Festschrift Lutter (2000) pp. 1454 et seq.Google Scholar

90 Colombo, supra n. 82, pp. 348 et seq.

91 See infra.

92 Padovini, Der Gesellschafter (2/2002), supra n. 86; Arlt/Bervoets/Grechenig/Kalss, supra n. 84, pp. 64, p. 72.

93 Alessi, , “Il Collegio Sindacale nella Riforma Mirone”, Giur. Comm. (2000), I, pp. 370 et seq.Google Scholar

94 A typical feature is that a few large companies dominate the Dutch capital market; fifteen companies represent about 75% of the total market capitalisation of Euronext Amsterdam, cf. de Jong, /Kabir, /Marra, /Roëll, , “Ownership and Control in the Netherlands”Google Scholar, in: Barca/Becht, supra n. 34, p. 190.

95 Cf. de Jong/Kabir/Marra/Roëll, supra n. 94, p. 205.

96 See Appendix 2 of the Peters-Report on Corporate Governance in the Netherlands: the Forty Recommendations (1996) published in English at <www.ecgn.org>.

97 Because of the division of the Civil Code into several books, quotations of the articles of the Civil Code usually begin with the number of the book and then the article separated by a colon (e.g., Art. 2:9 BW refers to art. 9 of book 2 of the Civil Code).

98 This tradition goes back to the beginning 17th Century when the United East-India Company (VOC – Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie) was founded. This large trade company with public character, in which private investors could participate, was coordinated by a group of “Gentlemen” (Heeren) to whom the executive members had to account: resembling the idea of a modern supervisory board.

99 Art. 2:153 BW.

100 Art. 2:153 para. 2 defines a subsidiary as a legal person in which the corporation (or any of its subsidiary companies) contributes solely or jointly and for their own account, at least half of the issued capital, or a partnership with a registered business enterprise in which the corporation or a dependent company is a fully liable partner towards third parties.

101 Research done in 1999 shows that, out of 109 examined corporations, 65% adopted the structure regime voluntarily: Honée, /Timmerman, , “Rapport inzake de toepassing van de structuurregeling: zeggenschapsverhoudingen in Nederland” (Nijmegen/Groningen 2000).Google Scholar

102 Asscr, /Maeijer, 2-III, Vertegenwoordiging en rechtspersonen (Deventer: Tjeenk-Willink 2000) pp. 506 et seq.Google Scholar

103 Art. 2:153 BW.

104 Since the introduction of the structure regime in 1971, twelve such proceedings were conducted, eleven of which were introduced by the works council, cf. Van, Schilfgaarde, Van de BV en de NV, 12th ed. (Gouda: Quint 2001) pp. 362 et seq.Google Scholar

105 Such as issuance and acquisition of shares, amendments of the articles, entry into or termination of any ongoing co-operation by the corporation or a subsidiary with another legal entity or partnership, reduction of the corporation's issued shared capital.

106 Cf. Timmerman, , “Kroniek van het vennootschapsrecht”, NJB (2000), pp. 472 et seqGoogle Scholar. and Timmerman, , “De zere plek van het Nederlandse en Europesche vennootschaps- en effektenrecht”, Ondernemingsrecht (2000) pp. 420 et seq.Google Scholar

107 In 1997, a Corporate Governance Commission, directed by Drs. Peters, issued a code of best conduct containing forty recommendations (<www.ecgn.org>). Compliance with the Code purely voluntary. In 1998, a Monitoring Commission Corporate Governance came to the conclusion that the impact of the code was relatively low, in practice, especially concerning the desired revalorisation of the factor capital, “Monitoring Corporate Governance in Nederland”, 1998, Bericht van de Monitoring Commisssion Corporate Governance en de uitkomsten van het onderzoek verricht door het Economisch Instituut Tilburg (Kluwer: Deventer 1998).Google Scholar

108 Wetsvoorstel 28 179 Wijziging van Boek 2 van het Burgerlijk Wetboek in verband met aanpasing van de structuurregeling. This proposal is mainly based on an extensive report of the Social Economic Council “The Functioning and Future of the Structure Regime”, adopted on 19 January 2001, published at <www.ser.nl> with an English Summary.

109 Such as the transfer of the company to a third party, or the entry into, or interruption of, co-operations with other companies.

110 Weil/Gotshal/Manges, supra n. 87, Annex IV, 152, p. 171.

111 Art. 2:140 BW.

112 Art. 2:140 BW. A company is no longer seen as a private interest of the participating shareholders. Therefore, the supervisory board should not focus primarily on the interests of the shareholders, cf. Van Schilfgaarde, supra n. 104, p. 197, although some authors consider that this general provision concerning the interest of the corporation should not apply to the common regime but merely to the structure regime (see cross references p. 197). Dutch case law seems to go in the direction that it should apply, cf. HR (Dutch Supreme Court), 1 April 1948, NJ 1949, 465.

113 Asser/Maeijer, supra n. 102, p. 321; Van Schilfgaarde, supra n. 104, p. 176.

114 HR (Dutch Supreme Court), 21 January 1955, NJ 1959, 43 (The Forum Bank Case).

115 Cf. a recently published report on minority rights: Timmerman, /Doorman, , “Rights of minority shareholders in the Netherlands”Google Scholar, report written for the XVI World Congress of the International Academy of Comparative Law, published at <http://www.rechten.rug.nl/biblio/Edocs/minorityshh.pdf>

116 Such as issuance of certificates of shares separating the economic and the legal ownership of a share, with the voting rights residing with the legal owner (often an administrative office with close relations to the company). The above-mentioned proposal seeks to improve the position of holders of certificates.

117 Buijs, , “De Europese Vennootschap, een Brussels virus voor het nationale medezeggenschapsrecht”, Ondernemingsrecht (2001-2007) p. 181.Google Scholar

118 Buijs, , “De Europese Vennootschap: een instrument voor internationale reorganisatie voor liefhebbers van een rol voor de werknemers”, Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Europees Recht (2001) pp. 121, 124.Google Scholar

119 Buijs, , Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Europees Recht (2001)Google Scholar, supra n. 118, pp. 121, 124.

120 Buijs, , Ondernemingsrecht (2001-2007)Google Scholar, supra n. 117, p. 182.

121 Timmerman, , “De medezeggenschap van de Europese vennootschap; een eerste verkenning vanuit Nederlands gezichtspunt”, Ondernemingsrecht (2001-2007) pp. 199, 201Google Scholar; Buijs, , Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Europees Recht (2001)Google Scholar, supra n. 118, p. 121, 124.

122 Winter, , “De Europese Vennootschap: besturen en toezicht houden in rangen en standen”, Ondernemingsrecht (2001-2007) p. 197.Google Scholar

123 245,311 public limited companies and 630,516 private limited companies, data of the Mercantile Register: Registro Mercantil Central. Estadística (December 1995) in: Paz-Ares, , Tratando de la Sociedad Limitada (Fundación Cultural del Notariado 1997) p. 1281.Google Scholar

124 Baquerín/Martín [coord.], Práctica Mercantil 1999, 92; Arroyo/Mercadal, in: Arroyo, /Embid, , Comentario a la ley de sociedades anónimas I (Tecnos 2001) p. 32.Google Scholar

125 <www.vernimmen.net>; Arlt/Bervoets/Grechenig/Kalss, supra n. 84, p. 66. In 1995 there were about 600 companies listed at the stock exchange, Crespí-Cladera, /García-Cestona, , “Ownership of Spanish listed Firms”Google Scholar, in: Barca/Becht, supra n. 34, p. 215.

126 Ley de Sociedades Anónimas, RD (legislativo) 1564/1989. The Ley de Sociedades Limitadas, Ley 2/1995 (Private Limited Companies Act) regulates private limited companies.

127 Reglamento del Registro Mercantil, RD 1784/1996.

128 Martínez in: Arroyo/Embid, supra n. 124, II, 1499; Olivencia, , “Managers' Revolution/Independents' Counter-Revolution”, in: Homenaje Menéndez, vol. 2, 2193Google Scholar; Manuel, Sánchez, “El Código Olivenca y la Responsibilidad de los Miembros del Consejo de Administración”, RdS (1999) (Vol. 7, No. 11) p. 140.Google Scholar

129 Individual directors as well as a board of directors are organs. The company can choose between the systems, see below “Organisational structure”.

130 Arlt//Bervoets/Grechenig/Kalss, supra n. 84, p. 67.

131 Art. 124 RRM: (1) one director; (2) various directors who act individually, each director has the power of agency; (3) two directors who act collectively and have a joint power of agency; (4) a board of directors, composed of at least three members with a joint power of representation, the articles can detail the power of agency to one or more members; see also Art. 9 h LSA.

132 Resolution of the Dirección General de los Registros y del Notariado (DGRN), 27 February 1991, quoted in: Sánchez, Calero, Administradores (Edersa 1994) pp. 18 et seq., 449Google Scholar. Against this, De la, Cámara, “La Administración de la Sociedad Anónima”, Revista Jurídica del Notariado 4/1992, No. 58.Google Scholar

133 The term of office cannot exceed five years, Art. 126 LSA.

134 Sánchez Calero, Administradores, supra n. 132, p. 344.

135 The board of diretors votes for its president, Art. 141 (1) LSA;

136 Art. 140 (1) LSA; consequently half of the members plus one must be present (or represented).

137 Some authors require a minimum of a hundred hours per year (duration of the meetings), see Informe Olivencia, II.4.1, p. 30 (<http://www.ecgi.org/codes>).

138 Sánchez Calero, supra n. 132, pp. 451 et seq.

139 Esteban, Velasco, “La administración de la Sociedad de Responsibilidad Limitada”Google Scholar, in: Paz-Ares, Tratando, supra n. 123, 731, p. 732; Sánchez Calero, supra n. 132, p. 49; legal persons are especially used in affiliated groups. Esteban Velasco, ibid., p. 643.

140 Sánchez Calero, supra n. 132, pp. 44, 49-50; Esteban Velasco, supra n. 139, p. 734.

141 See Alberto, Alonso/Antonio, Roncero, “Sistema de elección de los consejeros. Comité de Nombramiento”Google Scholar, in: Esteban, Velasco, El Gobierno de las sociedades cotizadas (Marcial Pons 1999) p. 216Google Scholar. Sánchez Calero, supra n. 132, p. 26.

140 Neither the articles of association nor the general meeting can delegate the competence to appoint the directors; Sánchez Calero, supra n. 132, p. 27.

143 Sánchez Calero, supra n. 132, pp. 27 et seq.; cf. José-Alejo, Rueda, “Spanien”, in: Hohloch, (ed.), EU-Handbuch Gesellschaftsrecht (Berlin 1997) No. 250.Google Scholar

144 Berger, /Eckert, /Grechenig, , “Regelungsschwerpunkte der Minderheitsvertretung im Aufsichtsrat aus rechtsvergleichender Sicht”, ZfRV (2002) 168.Google Scholar

145 In a board of 20, 10% can nominate 2 directors. The minority does not have the right to participate in the appointment of the executive members (or members of other committees). In listed companies the minority shareholders usually cannot combine their voting rights in order to reach the required percentage due to practical reasons; Berger/Eckert/Grechenig, supra n. 144.

146 The mechanism of co-option is legally an exception, though in practice the usual case; Alberto/Alonso/Antonio Roncero, supra n. 141, p. 217.

147 This rule is ius cogens, Alberto Alonso/Antonio Roncero, supra n. 141, p. 224.

148 Otherwise the right of the minority shareholders could easily be circumvented, see Berger/Eckert/Grechenig, supra n. 144.

149 Alberto Alonso/Antonio Roncero, supra n. 141, 225. Sánchez Calero, supra n. 132, p. 197.

150 Cf. dominant opinion, Alberto Alonso/Antonio Roncero, supra n. 141, p. 226.

151 Cf. dominant opinion, Alberto Alonso/Antonio Roncero, supra n. 141, pp. 224 et seq. Cf. Polo, , “Los Administradores y el Consejo de Administración de la Sociedad Anónima”Google Scholar, in: Uría, /Menéndez, /Olivencia, , Comentario al Regimen Legal de las Sociedades Mercantiles (Madrid: Civitas 1994) p. 224Google Scholar; Alberto Alonso/Antonio Roncero, supra n. 141, p. 226.

152 Alberto Alonso/Antonio Roncero, supra n. 141, 225. Sánchez Calero, supra n. 132, 206; for the opposite view, e.g. Polo, supra n. 153, p. 224.

153 Alberto Alonso/Antonio Roncero, supra n. 141, p. 225.

154 Sánchez Calero, supra n. 132, pp. 218, 221 et seq.

155 Art. 132 LSA. Regarding affiliated groups, Sánchez, Calero, supra n. 132, p. 235.Google Scholar

156 Sánchez Calero, supra n. 132, pp. 231 et seq.

157 Sánchez Calero, supra n. 132, pp. 487 et seq. De la Cámara, supra n. 132, No. 76 et seq. De la Cámara states that, in practice, the general meeting determines to which committee the director will belong.

158 Sánchez Calero, supra n. 132, p. 489.

159 See Pérez, , La administración de la sociedad anónima (Madrid: Civitas 1999) p. 44.Google Scholar

160 De la Cámara, supra n. 159, No. 52; Carmen, Alonso, “El papel de la Junta General en el Gobierno Corporativo de las Sociedades de capital”Google Scholar, in: Esteban, [coord.], El gobierno de las sociedades cotizadas (Madrid: Marcial Pons 1999) p. 639.Google Scholar

161 Cf. Art. 25 (2) 2nd EC Directive.

162 Martínez, in: Arroyo/Embid, supra n. 124, II, 1507; Miquel, in: Arroyo/Embid, supra n. 124, II, 959.

163 Sánchez Calero, supra n. 132, 19. Carmen Alonso, in: Esteban, [coord.], supra n. 162, p. 639.Google Scholar

164 De la Cámara, supra n. 159, no. 56; Carmen Alonso, supra n. 165, p. 639; Sánchez Calero, supra n. 132, p. 25.

165 De la Cámara, supra n. 159, No. 55; Sánchez Calero, supra n. 132, p. 25; for the opposite view see Carmen Alonso, supra n. 165, p. 620.

166 Gaudencio Esteban, in: Esteban [coord.], supra n. 162, p. 178.

167 See Gaudencio Esteban, supra n. 168, pp. 177, 183; Martínez, in: Arroyo/Embid, supra n. 124, II, 1510; cf. Informe Olivencia, II.3.5.

168 Gaudencio Esteban, supra n. 168, p. 179.

169 Gaudencio Esteban, supra n. 168, p. 183.

170 Sánchez Calero, supra n. 132, p. 466; Recommendation 1 of the Código de Buen Gobierno and Informe Olivencia, II.1.1, p. 16; Polo, supra n. 153, p. 386; Arlt/Bervoets/Grechenig/Kalss, supra n. 84, p. 67.

171 Gaudencio Esteban, supra n. 168, pp. 178 et seq.; Informe Olivencia, II.1.1, p. 17.

172 Morillas, /Grechenig, , “La administración de la Sociedad Europea”, Derecho de los Negocios 145/2002, pp. 17 et seqGoogle Scholar. Regarding Art. 43 (2) 2 SE Counsil Regulation; Informe Olivencia, II. Recommendation 4 of the Código Olivencia proposes to have between 5 and 15 board members.

173 Statistisches Jahrbuch, Statistik Austria printed in <www.oestat.gv.at>.

175 Gugler, /Kalss, /Stomper, /Zechner, , The Separation of Ownership and Control in Austria in Barca/Becht, The Control of Corporate Europe (New York: Oxford University Press 2001) pp. 46 et seq.Google Scholar

176 Gugler/Kalss/Stomper/Zechner, supra n. 177, pp. 49 et seq.

178 Federal law of 31 March 1965 on public limited companies; BGBl 1965/98.

179 DRGBl 1897, p. 219 in the current version.

180 BGBl I 1998/127.

181 Kalss/Burger/Eckert, supra n. 16.

182 Kalss/Burger/Eckert, supra n. 16.

183 110 ArbVG, Arbeitsverfassungsgesetz (Employee Co-determination Act)

184 Para. 92, Stock Corporation Act.

185 Para. 86, Stock Corporation Act.

186 Austrian Supreme Court, Evidenzblatt 1978/4; only recently Austrian Supreme Court 26.2.2002, RdW (2002) p. 352; Kalss, , “Der Aufsichtsrat als Hüter der Interessen der Gläubiger”, in: Kalss, (ed.), supra n. 86.Google Scholar

187 See Kalss/Burger/Eckert, supra n. 16; further Bahrenfuss, , Die Entstehung des Aktiengesetzes von 1965 – Unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Bestimmungen über die Kapitalgrundlagen und die Unternehmensverfassung (Berlin: Duncker und Humblot 2001)Google Scholar; Hommelhoff, , “Eigenkontrolle statt Staatskontrolle – rechtsdogmatischer Überblick zur Aktienrechtsreform 1884Google Scholar, in: Schubert, /Hommelhoff, , Hundert Jahre modernes Aktienrecht, ZGR-SH (4/1985) pp. 51 et seq.Google Scholar

188 See only Hopt, , “Gestaltungsfreiheit im Gesellschaftsrecht in Europa – Generalbericht –”Google Scholar, in: Lutter, /Wiedemann, , Gestaltungsfreiheit im Gesellschaftsrecht. Deutschland, Europa und USA, 13. ZGR-SH (1997) pp. 123 et seqGoogle Scholar.; Hirte, , “Die aktienrechtliche Satzungsstrenge: Kapitalmarkt und sonstige Legitimationen versus Gestaltungsfreiheit”Google Scholar, in: Lutter/Wiedemann, ibid., pp. 61 et seq.; Mertens, , “Satzungs- und Organisationsautonomie im Aktien- und Konzerarecht”, ZGR (1994) pp. 426 et seq.Google Scholar

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