Amendments to Curaçao Company Law - Effective 1 January 2012

Late in 2011 the Curaçao Parliament (Staten) adopted a number of legislative proposals, including a proposal to amend certain provisions of Book 2 of the Curaçao Civil Code containing Curaçao company law.

It has long been uncertain when the proposed changes would become effective but at the end of December 2011, a National Decree was signed whereby the new company law became effective as per 1 January 2012.

Here you can read a general information memorandum describing some of the amendments to the Curaçao Civil Code regarding company law which have now become effective.

Important changes are:

- the introduction of the “company agreement” which document can contain certain arrangements made between the shareholders and the company and which, provided it meets a number of criteria, will have corporate effect. The concept of the corporate agreement has come to replace the shareholders agreement (i.e. an agreement among all shareholders of a Curaçao company and the company itself) which had corporate effect under the old company law. Shareholders agreements that do not meet the requirements stipulated for company agreements no longer have corporate effect under the revised law.

- pre-emptive rights of shareholders on issue of new shares in a company are no longer granted by operation of law. Under the old law, shareholders had pre-emptive rights in the event of further issues of shares unless the articles of association provided otherwise. Under the revised law, shareholders will only have pre-emptive rights if the articles of association explicitly provide for such rights.

- the procedures for adoption of resolutions by the general meeting of shareholders in writing or if the meeting has not been duly convened have been amended, making it more onerous to validly adopt such resolutions.

- the scope of persons who are, as a matter of law, granted rights to attend a general meetings of shareholders has been substantially broadened. Under the new law, all shareholders, all persons entitled to vote on shares, all managing directors, all supervisory directors and all persons that otherwise are granted the right to attend meetings in the articles of association now have the right to attend and address general meetings.

- a right of investigation (enquêterecht) into the management policies of an entity, a procedure which has been included in the company law of the Netherlands for some time, has been introduced in the new law.

January 2012

Thanks to: STvB Advocaten

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