sunnuntai 24. maaliskuuta 2013

Fusion-acquisition en Finlande:

Achat d’une société en Finlande


Une fusion-acquisition en Finlande n’est pas forcement compliquée. La Finlande appartient au système juridique continental donc il y a peu de surprises pour un acheteur francais. Bien entendu il y a des particularités nationales surtout sur les domaines de droit immobilier, droit de travail et droit fiscal. Nous trouvons que l’ assistance et le conseil dans la structuration de l’opération en matière juridique, fiscale et sociale dans sa préparation est d’importance.  La réalisation des audits de pré-acquisition (Due Diligence) et organisation de data-rooms suit, mais bon conseil au debut du processus vaut beaucoup.

Les négotiations concernant la rédaction et négociation de la documentation juridique d’acquisition (lettre d’intention, contrat d’acquisition, convention de garantie) et de financement (contrats de crédit et sûretés ) sont plus faciles si on a commencé de bonne heure et formé une strategie.


Le système juridique finlandais  permet la libération du capital mais il faut être prudent: le vendeur peut obtenir des dividends supplementaires, la société objet peut être diffusion, la société peut rachter des actions. Les mécanismes sont divers.


 Nous devons vérifier que  les terrains constructibles ont obtenu  un permis de construire de la municipalité. L’acheteur devra vérifier que tous les actes d'achats ont bien été transcrits au bureau des registrations. L'acquéreur pourra par ailleurs vérifier à ce bureau la situation réelle des immeubles et s'assurer qu'il n'existe pas de hypothèques antérieures sur les immeubles de l'actif.

Dans une acquisition en Finlande nous  vérifions le respect des normes et règlements en vigueur en Finlande. Finalement ce n’est pas souvent que nous rencontrons des cas de non respect de règles et lois qui  peuvent engendrer de conséquences financières. Bien entendu  les règles environnementales peuvent être très lourdes de conséquences pour la société et de plus les consequences peuvent se realiser trés tard.

Qu’est-ce que cela coûte?

Les coûts de conseil juridique sont souvent élevés, mais il ne doit  pas être ainsi! Le système finlandais nous permet  de rédiger des contrats plus courts sans risque. Beaucoup de grands cabinets font des audits de pré-acquisition (Due Diligence) en grand style sans analyser trop et les contrats d’acquisition sont plutôt du style américain que finlandais. Cela n’est pas toujours nécessaire dans un système de droit continental ; nous préférons adapter le travail aux vrais besoins du client et trouvons qu’une  analyse vaut mieux  que beaucoup de  documents  photocopiés et traduits.

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lauantai 23. maaliskuuta 2013

Business Acquisition in Finland

Business Acquisition in Finland - a new concept

In the course of years we have represented a broad range of individuals and companies pursuing business opportunities through mergers and acquisitions, most recently within e-commerce, metal industry and wealth management. All the three of us have worked as inhouse lawyers and seen a lot of mediocre legal work performed by lawyers, let lone reputable firms. We decided not to deliver the same kind of quality and not to deliver unnecessarily lengthy reports which lack proper analyze. A client has the right to get answers – proper opinions- for his money.

M & A  approach

We have in the past few years seen a foreign acquisition culture penetrate this market. In most cases this means unnecessarily lengthy agreements and extensive due diligences. Such practices have their justification provided they serve the best interests of the client but that is unfortunately not always the case. In a jurisdiction like Finland you could achieve the same level of protection with less paperwork and more analyzing. That may, however,  not always be in the interest of the service provider.

Since 2012 we have assumed a new approach where the three partners of the firm perform almost all the work needed in an acquisition process. Thus the client gets the benefit of our past experiences and does not have to satisfy with work performed by fairly inexperienced associate lawyers. This approach has proven successful and we have recently been involved in several mergers and acquisitions in spite of the fact that the general M&A market has stagnated. Many of our clients have authorized us to disclose our involvement in the respective mergers and acquisitions. We are pleased to inform you about our past engagements.

Finland as the acquisition target country

The process of acquiring a company is seen in many jurisdictions as something complicated and time-consuming. This does not apply to the Nordic countries let alone to Finland. We have a culture of transparency, openness and minimal form requirements. Our legal culture has minimized red tape which fact facilitates business dynamism.

Lower transaction costs

The Finnish transaction and legal costs are competitive and mostly lower than in the majority of countries. We encourage our clients to structure the deal in accordance with the Finnish legal tradition in order to minimize the costs. Of course you may want to do an acquisition process in the same way in every country or do it more extensively in order to cover your back. Our approach has been particularly suitable in the acquisitions of small and medium sized companies where the owner makes the decisions and does not need to justify his actions to others.

Be a demanding client

It goes without saying that the extent of a lawyer’s involvement in across border acquisition is dependent on the instructions of the client. Yet, this basic fact is often forgotten and lawyers serve standard solutions to their clients, solutions which unfortunately in some cases are extensive and expensive without giving any real help to the client’s decision making. The objective which the parties’ attorneys will be expected to achieve is the legal transfer of ownership from seller to buyer of either the shares or the assets of the business as appropriate. The client has every right to expect his attorney to identify risks and pitfalls and to give advice to protect the client’s interests rather than make lengthy DD-reports without analyzing the underlying facts.

Take us earlier onboard and save in transaction costs

An experienced lawyer’s input into the commercial aspects of the transaction should be substantial as the legal facts do have financial implications. The stage at which the client instructs the lawyer in cross border transactions should be carefully considered. It is often unfortunate if the client sees the lawyer’s role as excluding the commercial side of the transaction. In such cases the client will instruct the lawyer at a relatively late stage in proceedings, maybe after most of the deal has been negotiated. We have seen cases where little could be done and most of the advisor’s time was consumed in trying to mend the errors already made and create structure in the DD-process and deal.

It is, however, impossible to isolate the legal aspects from the commercial aspects and it is therefore we prefer to be involved as early as possible in the negotiations. The lawyer should ensure that his client does not enter into any binding commitments and that all negotiations are subject to contract. In a nightmare scenario the client may commit a breach just by signing.

Corporate tax reform in Finland

Corporate tax rate in Finland to 20 per cent - great news for foreign shareholders

Positive news for businesses as Finland intends to cut its corporate tax to 20 per cent. Foreign owned companies are the real winners.
The Finnish Government announced the  contemplated reform at a press conference on March 23rd, 2013  at which the Prime Minister also disclosed measures aimed at reducing Finland’s budget deficit.

The tax cut would be partially financed by higher taxes on stock dividends which naturally does not affect an international owner as he is liable to any such taxes in his home country but not in Finland.  

All good seems to have a price tag: Finnish resident shareholders’ dividend taxation gets harder: shareholders of non-quoted companies will pay tax on the dividends depending of the net value of the company. This means an aggregate tax burden of 26,4 per cent (corporate tax + dividend tax) for the Finnish resident shareholders.

The reform is in line with the changes made in other Nordic countries. A similar tax cut was announced Sweden  and Denmark resulting in a 22 per cent  tax rate.

More about mergers and acquisitions in Finland  at my website 
You can also acquaint yourself with my previously published article about taxation aspects in mergers and acquisitions at
Bolagsskatten i Finland  till 20 %
Bolagsskatten i Finalnd  sänks från 24,5 procent till 20 procent. Sänkningen kompenseras genom en hårdare beskattning av dividender. Detta drabbar förståss inte svenska aktieägare (allmänt skattskyldiga i Sverige)  eftersom de inte betalar  källskatt på dividender.