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LUND UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES

The share capital requirement - a comparative study of its functions, problems and future.

Nilsson, Madelene LU (2013) JURM01 20131
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Denna uppsats undersöker effekterna av minimikapitalkravet i relation till svenska privata aktiebolag. Aktiekapitalets ”vara eller inte vara” är något som länge debatterats, i Sverige och utanför.

Sverige och många av de kontinentaleuropeiska länderna, såsom Tyskland, har en tradition att kräva att entreprenörer som önskar att starta ett privat aktiebolag bidrar med kapital till detta. Skälen är många, men skyll för frivilliga men framför allt ofrivilliga borgenärer är historiskt sett det mest uttalade. Andra skäl är att aktiekapitalet fungerar som en inträdesbarriär, som regler för att kapital ska stanna kvar i företaget och att det är ett sätt att reducera transaktionskostnader eftersom lagreglerna utgör ett standardkontrakt. Som en... (More)
Denna uppsats undersöker effekterna av minimikapitalkravet i relation till svenska privata aktiebolag. Aktiekapitalets ”vara eller inte vara” är något som länge debatterats, i Sverige och utanför.

Sverige och många av de kontinentaleuropeiska länderna, såsom Tyskland, har en tradition att kräva att entreprenörer som önskar att starta ett privat aktiebolag bidrar med kapital till detta. Skälen är många, men skyll för frivilliga men framför allt ofrivilliga borgenärer är historiskt sett det mest uttalade. Andra skäl är att aktiekapitalet fungerar som en inträdesbarriär, som regler för att kapital ska stanna kvar i företaget och att det är ett sätt att reducera transaktionskostnader eftersom lagreglerna utgör ett standardkontrakt. Som en inträdesbarriär ska aktiekapitalet bidra till att endast seriösa entreprenörer har tillgång till aktiebolagsformen och möjligen att hindra den från att utnyttjas för mindre lagliga eller lämpliga syften. Detta är ett av de starkaste argumenten i den svenska regeringens proposition men resonemanget har kritiserats eftersom man kan gå miste om många duktiga entreprenörer för att de saknar kapital. Vidare har det diskuterats, i sammanhanget att se aktiekapitalet som ett sätt att signallera seriositet till marknaden, om finansiering via aktiekapital eller skuld skapar de mest trovärdiga företagen.

Anglosaxiska länder såsom England eller USA har inte samma tilltro till minimikapitalkravets funktion som borgenärsskydd och har därför slopat dessa krav. I stället spelar insolvenslagstiftningen en stor roll och detta gör att marknaden själv får avgöra hur den bäst skyddar sig, via olika typer av överenskommelser.

När blicken vänds mot EU så har försök gjorts för att harmonisera bolagsrätten och i kommissionens förslag till stadga för SPE-bolaget, det föreslagna privata europabolaget, sattes minimikapitalet till en euro. Men i den nu aktuella presidentkompromissen kan medlemsstater själva välja vilket kapitalkrav de vill tillämpa, mellan en euro och upp till åtta tusen euros. Kompromissen gör att SPE-bolaget går miste om ett viktigt karaktärsdrag och nu är fördelen främst att bolaget kan driva verksamhet i de olika medlemsländerna.

Framtiden är mycket intressant, med ökad harmonisering i EU, SPE-bolaget och fler och fler bolag från alla europeiska länder som väljer att skapa sitt privata bolag i Storbritannien. Sverige har flera beslut att ta och vägar att välja från och minimikapitalkravet är en central fråga.

Denna uppsats visar att minimikapitalkravet är ett utdaterat koncept. Det ger inte något borgenärsskydd ens till ofrivilliga borgenärer eftersom aktiekapitalets storlek inte har någon relation till framtida skadeståndsanspråk eller skatteskulder, speciellt eftersom aktiekapitalet oftast redan är förbrukat när ett bolags ekonomiska kris uppdagas. Författaren förordar vidare idén om en obligatorisk försäkring som alternativ till aktiekapitalet för att framför allt fullgöra kravet på just säkerhet för ofrivilliga borgenärer.

Transaktionskostnader är inte något som bör övervägas i lagstiftningsprocessen då det gäller affärer och undersökningar har visat att de flesta borgenärer väljer att skapa individuella överenskommelser även om företaget i fråga har ett aktiekapital. När det kommer till en inträdesbarriär finner författaren det udda att det är möjligt att köpa begränsat ansvar. Det bör förtjänas. (Less)
Abstract
This thesis aims to clarify the effects of the minimum share capital requirement in relation to Swedish private limited liability companies. The “be or not to be” of a minimum share capital requirement has been debated for a long time, both in Sweden and abroad.

Sweden and many of the European continental countries such as Germany has a tradition of requiring that entrepreneurs wishing to form a private limited company commit capital to it. The reasons are many, but protection for both adjusting and non-adjusting creditors is historically the most prominent one. Other reasons are that the share capital functions as an entry barrier, as capital maintenance rules and are a way of reducing transaction costs since the legal rules create a... (More)
This thesis aims to clarify the effects of the minimum share capital requirement in relation to Swedish private limited liability companies. The “be or not to be” of a minimum share capital requirement has been debated for a long time, both in Sweden and abroad.

Sweden and many of the European continental countries such as Germany has a tradition of requiring that entrepreneurs wishing to form a private limited company commit capital to it. The reasons are many, but protection for both adjusting and non-adjusting creditors is historically the most prominent one. Other reasons are that the share capital functions as an entry barrier, as capital maintenance rules and are a way of reducing transaction costs since the legal rules create a standard contract. As an entry barrier, the share capital is said to make sure that only serious entrepreneurs have access to the form of corporation and thus preventing the company form from being used for illegal purposes. This is one of the strongest arguments in the Swedish government’s proposition but has been criticized since many entrepreneurs might be lost due to a lack of capital. It has further been discussed, in the context of the share capital as an instrument signalling seriousness, whether financing by share capital or financing by debt creates the most credible companies.

Anglo-Saxon countries such as England and the United States do not express the same belief in the minimum share capital’s function as creditor protection and has therefore abolished these requirements. Instead insolvency law is important and this allows the market itself to determine how to protect itself best, through different agreements.

When looking at the European Union, attempts have been made to harmonize company law and in the Commission’s Draft Statute for the SPE company, the suggested European private limited liability company, the minimum share capital requirement was set to one euro. However, in the now suggested Presidential Compromise, the Member States themselves may choose a share capital requirement of 1-8 000 euros, a compromise that leads to the SPE company losing one of its signalments. Now, the advantage is primarily that the company is able to operate throughout Europe.

The future is very interesting, with increased harmonization within the EU, the SPE company and an increasing amount of European companies incorporating in the UK. Sweden has several decisions to make and paths to choose from, and the minimum share capital requirement is central in this.

This thesis shows that the minimum share capital requirement actually is an out dated concept. It does not ensure creditor protection even to the non-adjustable creditors since the amount of equity has no relation to the amount of potential future tort claims or tax debts. This especially since when a financial crisis is discovered the share capital is probably long gone. The author is further quite fond of using insurances as an alternative to share capital above all to fulfil the demand for non-adjustable creditor protection.

Transaction costs are not something that should be considered when making law, this is strictly business and inquiries have shown that most creditors makes individual arrangements even if there is a share capital in the company. When it comes to an entry barrier, the author finds it very peculiar that it is possible to buy limited liability when it should be earned. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Nilsson, Madelene LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM01 20131
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
associationsrätt, comparative company law
language
English
id
3969004
date added to LUP
2014-01-02 09:28:37
date last changed
2014-01-02 09:28:37
@misc{3969004,
  abstract     = {This thesis aims to clarify the effects of the minimum share capital requirement in relation to Swedish private limited liability companies. The “be or not to be” of a minimum share capital requirement has been debated for a long time, both in Sweden and abroad.

Sweden and many of the European continental countries such as Germany has a tradition of requiring that entrepreneurs wishing to form a private limited company commit capital to it. The reasons are many, but protection for both adjusting and non-adjusting creditors is historically the most prominent one. Other reasons are that the share capital functions as an entry barrier, as capital maintenance rules and are a way of reducing transaction costs since the legal rules create a standard contract. As an entry barrier, the share capital is said to make sure that only serious entrepreneurs have access to the form of corporation and thus preventing the company form from being used for illegal purposes. This is one of the strongest arguments in the Swedish government’s proposition but has been criticized since many entrepreneurs might be lost due to a lack of capital. It has further been discussed, in the context of the share capital as an instrument signalling seriousness, whether financing by share capital or financing by debt creates the most credible companies. 

Anglo-Saxon countries such as England and the United States do not express the same belief in the minimum share capital’s function as creditor protection and has therefore abolished these requirements. Instead insolvency law is important and this allows the market itself to determine how to protect itself best, through different agreements. 

When looking at the European Union, attempts have been made to harmonize company law and in the Commission’s Draft Statute for the SPE company, the suggested European private limited liability company, the minimum share capital requirement was set to one euro. However, in the now suggested Presidential Compromise, the Member States themselves may choose a share capital requirement of 1-8 000 euros, a compromise that leads to the SPE company losing one of its signalments. Now, the advantage is primarily that the company is able to operate throughout Europe. 

The future is very interesting, with increased harmonization within the EU, the SPE company and an increasing amount of European companies incorporating in the UK. Sweden has several decisions to make and paths to choose from, and the minimum share capital requirement is central in this. 

This thesis shows that the minimum share capital requirement actually is an out dated concept. It does not ensure creditor protection even to the non-adjustable creditors since the amount of equity has no relation to the amount of potential future tort claims or tax debts. This especially since when a financial crisis is discovered the share capital is probably long gone. The author is further quite fond of using insurances as an alternative to share capital above all to fulfil the demand for non-adjustable creditor protection. 

Transaction costs are not something that should be considered when making law, this is strictly business and inquiries have shown that most creditors makes individual arrangements even if there is a share capital in the company. When it comes to an entry barrier, the author finds it very peculiar that it is possible to buy limited liability when it should be earned.},
  author       = {Nilsson, Madelene},
  keyword      = {associationsrätt,comparative company law},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The share capital requirement - a comparative study of its functions, problems and future.},
  year         = {2013},
}