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Koncernintresset - en studie av koncernens plats i svensk rätt

Grapengiesser, Diana LU (2016) JURM02 20161
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Uppsatsen behandlar koncernens plats i svensk bolagsrätt. Koncernbildning är en vanligt förekommande metod av företagsintegration såväl i Sverige som utomlands. Antalet aktiebolag som har koppling till koncerner är ökande och innefattade redan 1997 var femte svenskt aktiebolag.

Aktiebolagslagen (2005:551) utvecklades under en tid då koncerner var ovanliga och vilar således på premisser som generellt inte gäller i dessa förhållanden. Till följd av lagens historiska utveckling ligger teorin om den enskilda juridiska personen som enhet till grund för lagstiftningen. Koncernförhållandet anses på så sätt vara en sammansättning av separata och från varandra skilda rättssubjekt. I realiteten behandlas emellertid koncernen i ekonomiskt... (More)
Uppsatsen behandlar koncernens plats i svensk bolagsrätt. Koncernbildning är en vanligt förekommande metod av företagsintegration såväl i Sverige som utomlands. Antalet aktiebolag som har koppling till koncerner är ökande och innefattade redan 1997 var femte svenskt aktiebolag.

Aktiebolagslagen (2005:551) utvecklades under en tid då koncerner var ovanliga och vilar således på premisser som generellt inte gäller i dessa förhållanden. Till följd av lagens historiska utveckling ligger teorin om den enskilda juridiska personen som enhet till grund för lagstiftningen. Koncernförhållandet anses på så sätt vara en sammansättning av separata och från varandra skilda rättssubjekt. I realiteten behandlas emellertid koncernen i ekonomiskt hänseende som en integrerad enhet. Moderbolaget utövar ofta styrning över dotterbolagen för att nå de mål som ställs upp för koncernen som helhet. Till följd av detta uppkommer risker framförallt för borgenärer och minoritetsdelägare i dotterbolagen. Med anledning av att dessa risker infriats vid ett antal tillfällen har problematiken kring koncerner uppmärksammats i såväl svensk som europeisk rätt ett flertal gånger. Särskilda regler har tillkommit för att återställa intressebalansen i koncernförhållanden till den i fristående aktiebolag. Något helhetsgrepp på koncernrätten som rättsområde har emellertid inte tagits. Det föreligger således även fortsatt en diskrepans mellan den praktiska och den juridiska behandlingen av koncerner vilket medför luckor i lagstiftningen.

Koncernproblematiken kan sammanfattas till att handla om styrning och ansvar i koncernen. Problematiken rör moderbolagets rätt att styra dotterbolaget enligt det övergripande koncernintresset utan att ansvara för dotterbolagets förpliktelser. Det är således ytterst en fråga om gränserna för den juridiska personens rättssubjektivitet och det begränsade personliga ansvaret för aktieägare. Uppsatsens frågeställning kretsar kring ett eventuellt erkännande av koncernen som enhet med ett från de enskilda dotterbolagen fristående intresse. Lagstiftningens historiska utveckling, de motiv som ligger bakom koncernbildning samt ändamålet med lagstiftningen har behandlats för att analysera behovet av ett sådant erkännande.

Uppsatsen mynnar ut i slutsatsen att ett förstärkt koncernintresse torde vara ändamålsenligt ur ett rättsekonomiskt perspektiv. Så kan ske direkt genom lagstiftning eller indirekt genom tolkning av styrnings- och ansvarsreglerna i rättstillämpningen. Ett förstärkt koncernintresse innebär en tillnärmning av lagstiftningen till den faktiska användningen av koncernförhållanden som styrmedel, utan att införa långtgående skyddsreglering vilken hämmar den fortsatta koncernbildningen. Ett eventuellt erkännande av koncernintresset föranleder emellertid att lagstiftningen måste ses över. Tolkningen av stora delar av skyddslagstiftningen vilar på premissen att varje bolag har ett eget intresse, vilket i första hand är vägledande för huruvida en åtgärd är tillåten. (Less)
Abstract
The essay concerns the corporate group’s place in Swedish corporate law. Corporate groups are commonly used as a method to achieve enterprise integration. The number of limited liability companies that are part of a corporate group is increasing, and involved one in five of all Swedish limited liability companies in 1997.

The Companies Act was developed during a time when corporate groups were rare. It therefore rests on premises that generally do not apply under the particular circumstances of corporate groups. As a consequence of the historical evolution of the Companies Act, the legislation in based on the theory of the corporate entity. Legally, corporate groups are considered as being a composition of legal entities, which are... (More)
The essay concerns the corporate group’s place in Swedish corporate law. Corporate groups are commonly used as a method to achieve enterprise integration. The number of limited liability companies that are part of a corporate group is increasing, and involved one in five of all Swedish limited liability companies in 1997.

The Companies Act was developed during a time when corporate groups were rare. It therefore rests on premises that generally do not apply under the particular circumstances of corporate groups. As a consequence of the historical evolution of the Companies Act, the legislation in based on the theory of the corporate entity. Legally, corporate groups are considered as being a composition of legal entities, which are separate and distinct from each other. In reality, however, corporate groups are operated economically as one integrated entity. The parent company often exercises control over the subsidiary companies to achieve the targets set for the corporate group as a whole. As a result of this divergence between corporate theory and the underlying economic facts, an increased risk arises for creditors and minority shareholders in the subsidiary companies. As a consequence of aforementioned risks materializing, the issue of company groups has attracted the attention of the legislator several times. Legislation which aims to restore the balance of interests in corporate groups has therefore been added to the Companies Act. Nevertheless, a holistic approach to the substantive law of corporate groups has not been taken. There hence remains a discrepancy between the actual and the legal treatment of corporate groups.

The problems concerning corporate groups can be summarized to being about control and responsibility within the group. The question is of when a parent company has the right to control the subsidiaries under the overall group interest, without being responsible for the subsidiary's obligations. It is thus ultimately a question of the limits of the legal person and of the shareholders’ limited liability. The essay revolves around the possible recognition of the group as a unit with an interest of its own, separate from the individual interests of the subsidiary companies. Regulatory historical development, motives behind corporate groups, existing statutory protection of creditors and minority shareholders, and the purpose of the legislation have been taken into account to analyze the need for such recognition.

The essay concludes that a legal recognition of the interest of corporate groups would be appropriate from a legal economical perspective. Recognition can be achieved either by legislation or through interpretation of existing legislation concerning governance and accountability. A review of the classic conception of the legal entity and recognition of the corporate group interest entails an approximation of legislation to reality, without imposing far-reaching protective legislation which hampers further corporate group formation. A possible recognition of the corporate group interest prompts, however, that the current legislation be reviewed. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Grapengiesser, Diana LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
The entity of the corporate group - a legal study of corporate groups in Swedish corporate law
course
JURM02 20161
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
associationsrätt, civilrätt, företagsekonomi, rättsvetenskap
language
Swedish
id
8873738
date added to LUP
2016-06-17 14:43:23
date last changed
2016-06-17 14:43:23
@misc{8873738,
  abstract     = {The essay concerns the corporate group’s place in Swedish corporate law. Corporate groups are commonly used as a method to achieve enterprise integration. The number of limited liability companies that are part of a corporate group is increasing, and involved one in five of all Swedish limited liability companies in 1997. 

The Companies Act was developed during a time when corporate groups were rare. It therefore rests on premises that generally do not apply under the particular circumstances of corporate groups. As a consequence of the historical evolution of the Companies Act, the legislation in based on the theory of the corporate entity. Legally, corporate groups are considered as being a composition of legal entities, which are separate and distinct from each other. In reality, however, corporate groups are operated economically as one integrated entity. The parent company often exercises control over the subsidiary companies to achieve the targets set for the corporate group as a whole. As a result of this divergence between corporate theory and the underlying economic facts, an increased risk arises for creditors and minority shareholders in the subsidiary companies. As a consequence of aforementioned risks materializing, the issue of company groups has attracted the attention of the legislator several times. Legislation which aims to restore the balance of interests in corporate groups has therefore been added to the Companies Act. Nevertheless, a holistic approach to the substantive law of corporate groups has not been taken. There hence remains a discrepancy between the actual and the legal treatment of corporate groups.

The problems concerning corporate groups can be summarized to being about control and responsibility within the group. The question is of when a parent company has the right to control the subsidiaries under the overall group interest, without being responsible for the subsidiary's obligations. It is thus ultimately a question of the limits of the legal person and of the shareholders’ limited liability. The essay revolves around the possible recognition of the group as a unit with an interest of its own, separate from the individual interests of the subsidiary companies. Regulatory historical development, motives behind corporate groups, existing statutory protection of creditors and minority shareholders, and the purpose of the legislation have been taken into account to analyze the need for such recognition.

The essay concludes that a legal recognition of the interest of corporate groups would be appropriate from a legal economical perspective. Recognition can be achieved either by legislation or through interpretation of existing legislation concerning governance and accountability. A review of the classic conception of the legal entity and recognition of the corporate group interest entails an approximation of legislation to reality, without imposing far-reaching protective legislation which hampers further corporate group formation. A possible recognition of the corporate group interest prompts, however, that the current legislation be reviewed.},
  author       = {Grapengiesser, Diana},
  keyword      = {associationsrätt,civilrätt,företagsekonomi,rättsvetenskap},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Koncernintresset - en studie av koncernens plats i svensk rätt},
  year         = {2016},
}