New rules on capital decrease in Serbia
AMENDMENTS TO THE SERBIAN COMPANY LAW:
NO CAPITAL DECREASE IN CASE OF OVERCAPITALISATION FOR LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANIES
The provisions of the Serbian Company Law regarding capital decrease had been ambiguous, allowing for different interpretations regarding the possibility of capital decrease in overcapitalised limited liability companies. These provisions had triggered many questions and dilemmas, whose answers and solutions are yet to shed light on numerous cases pending before the Administrative Court of Serbia.
The official interpretation of the Agency for Commercial Registers was that shares in a limited liability company, as such, have no nominal value and therefore those companies cannot carry out a capital decrease by reducing the nominal value of their shares. Although the previous Company Law did not provide for such an exception to capital decrease, the Agency upheld its position in numerous cases. The amendments to the Serbian Company Law raised high expectations of solving this issue and enabling overcapitalized limited liability companies to decrease capital.
Indeed, the Amendments to the Companies Act (Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia, no. 44/2018), applicable as of 1 October 2018, have for the first time explicitly set down the grounds for the capital decrease and the respective procedures for limited liability companies, including the protection of creditors.
Surprisingly, however, the new amendments embraced the firmly conservative position and laid down explicit rules prohibiting capital decrease in overcapitalized limited liability companies by reducing the nominal value of shares.