Share Capital Reduction with Reimbursement of Contributions
On April 27th, the Superintendence of Corporations issued Opinion No. 220-106568 on the share capital reduction of a Colombian company with reimbursement of contributions, in which it relates its previously issued opinions on this matter. Bear in mind that the share capital of a company is made up of the contributions that the partners or shareholders have made, which then become part of the assets of the entity, which can use these good to pursue its corporate purpose. In accordance with article 122 of the Colombian Commercial Code, this decrease in share capital requires the company’s by-laws to be reformed, therefore, in addition to requiring the approval of the partners or shareholders to proceed with this measure, it must comply with what the by-laws and the law establish for the approval and formalization of by-laws reforms. Additionally, the reimbursement of contributions refers to the repayment to associates of the amount of the contribution they previously made to the company. This amount will be calculated depending on the share capital reduction that is effectively enacted and in proportion to each associate’s participation, if something different has not been established in the by-laws.
In addition to the above, the Superintendence of Corporations has established in its Basic Legal Memorandum that, in accordance with article 145 of the Colombian Commercial Code, it authorizes, in a general manner, the share capital reduction of all companies that are subject to its inspection, surveillance or control and that are included in one of the following circumstances: (i) the company does not have external liabilities, (ii) the company does have external liabilities, but once the capital reduction is made, the company assets are at least double the external liabilities, or (iii) the creditors expressly accept in writing the share capital reduction, regardless of the company’s assets amount. However, in the event that the above is not met, the company must submit in writing a special request for the superintendence to authorize the intended share capital reduction with reimbursement of contributions. Additionally, in the event that the external liabilities of the company stems from social benefits, the competent labor authority must give its approval.
The reimbursement of contributions to interested partners or shareholders can be made through the delivery of money or goods. However, the way in which this reimbursement will be made and the appraisal of the assets that will be delivered to the associates, must be discussed and approved by the highest social body (shareholders’ assembly or meeting of partners), since there is no legal provision that indicates the procedure to be followed.
Finally, it is important to bear in mind that the company’s legal representative and statutory auditor (if appointed), are liable for any damages caused to the associates that do not participate in the reimbursement, or to the company itself, with the execution of this operation. Likewise, they must ensure that the pursuit of the company’s purpose is not adversely affected by the realization of this reimbursement operation.
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 Official Letter 220-53255 of 2001, Colombian Superintendence of Corporations.
 Article 147, Colombian Commercial Code.
 Article 144, Colombian Commercial Code.