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Section 764: Power to alter authorised minimum

1079. This section replaces section 118(1) of the 1985 Act and restates section 118(2) and (3) of that Act. The power to alter the authorised minimum, contained in section 118, is carried forward but this has been updated to reflect the fact that in future companies will be able to satisfy the authorised minimum in sterling or the prescribed euro equivalent of the sterling amount (see section 763).

1080. Section 764 also contains a new provision which enables the Secretary of State, in regulations made under the Act, to alter both the sterling amount of the authorised minimum and to make a corresponding alteration to the prescribed euro equivalent (which is to be determined by applying an appropriate spot rate of exchange to the sterling amount and rounding up to the nearest 100 euros – see subsection (2)).

1081. As now, the power in this section will enable the Secretary of State to alter the sterling amount of the authorised minimum, for example from £50,000 to £60,000, (and the prescribed euro equivalent) should it become necessary to do so (for example, because of changes to the prescribed minimum capital requirement for public companies at EU level) or desirable (for example, if it was considered appropriate for business reasons to raise or lower the minimum share capital requirement for public companies within the limits permitted by the Second Company Law Directive).

Section 765: Authorised minimum: application of initial requirement

1082. This section is a new provision which prescribes how the authorised minimum is to be met. Subsection (1) makes it clear that the authorised minimum may be satisfied by reference to allotted share capital denominated in sterling or euros (but not a combination of both).

1083. Where a company has allotted sterling and euro shares, the question of whether the authorised minimum has been satisfied will be determined firstly by reference to the total sterling amount of the company’s allotted share capital and then by reference to the company’s euros shares (see subsection (2)). To take an example, if a company has allotted sterling shares to the total value of £25,000 and euro shares to the equivalent of £60,000, the authorised minimum will have been satisfied in euros. If the same company had allotted sterling shares to the total value of £10,000 and euro shares to the equivalent of £40,000 it would not have satisfied the minimum share capital requirement for a public company as the authorised minimum may be satisfied in sterling or euro but not partly in sterling and partly in euro.

Section 766: Authorised minimum: application where shares denominated in different currencies etc

1084. This section is a new provision which enables the Secretary of State to prescribe, in regulations made under the Act, how references to the authorised minimum are to be applied where a public company has its share capital denominated in more than one currency, or where it redenominates (converts) its share capital from one currency to another (see section 622).

1085. There are various provisions in the Act (for example where a public company applies to court to reduce its share capital) which provide that a company must re-register as a private company where the nominal value of its allotted share capital falls below the authorised minimum. It is therefore necessary to make provision for how references to the authorised minimum in the Act are to be applied where a public company has its shares denominated in different currencies, or currencies other than those in which the authorised minimum may be satisfied, and to require that a company must re-register as a private company where the effect of a redenomination of its share capital is to bring the value of the company’s share capital below the authorised minimum.

1086. To take an extreme example, the type of scenario that the power in this section is intended for is the situation where a public company incorporates with a share capital of £50,000 (expressed in sterling), allots additional dollar shares, subsequently redenominates part of its share capital into euros and then applies to the court to reduce its share capital. It will be necessary in such circumstances to determine what test should be applied to ascertain whether the company’s allotted share capital has fallen below the authorised minimum (in other words what exchange rates must be applied, as at what date they should be applied and as between what currencies). Regulations made pursuant to this section will need to deal with this type of issue. They will be subject to the negative resolution procedure due to their highly technical nature.

Section 767: Consequences of doing business etc without a trading certificate

1087. This section restates section 117 (7) and (8) of and Schedule 24 to the 1985 Act. 1088. As now, where a public company which is required to have a trading certificate enters into a transaction without first obtaining such a certificate, the directors are jointly and severally liable for any loss or damage caused to the other party to the transaction as a result of the company failing to meet its obligations. A director will only be jointly and severally liable with the company if he was a director at the time that the transaction was entered into and if the company has failed to meet its obligations under the transaction in question within 21 days of being called on to do so (see subsection (3)).

1089. Notwithstanding the fact that the company should not have entered into the transaction, the transaction itself is valid.

1090. Where a public company that is formed under this section, or under section 117 of the 1985 Act, has not obtained a trading certificate within a year of its incorporation, it may be wound up by the court (see section 122(1)(b) of the Insolvency Act 1986).