Research Article


DOI :10.26650/annales.2020.69.0000   IUP :10.26650/annales.2020.69.0000    Full Text (PDF)

The Limited Publicity of the Dependency Report (§ 312 AktG) in German Law

Funda Özdin

As a part of the protection system of the de facto group law in Germany (§§ 311 ff. AktG), some regulations are provided which regulate special instruments or mechanisms for checking compliance with the basic rule of the prohibition of disadvantage (§ 311 AktG). In this context, the law stipulates that all legal transactions and measures that may be influenced by the dependency must be documented in a dependency report (§ 312 AktG) and that the report must then be checked by the auditor (§ 313 AktG) and the supervisory board of the dependent company (§ 314 AktG) and by special auditors (§ 315 AktG). The report is not published de lege lata and is generally intended for the auditors, the supervisory board and special auditors. For reasons of confidentiality, the shareholders and creditors of the dependent company also have no right to inspect the dependency report. However, the report still gains a certain degree of publicity and improves the information available to outside shareholders and creditors by disclosing the final declaration of the board in the management report, the audit results of the supervisory board in the supervisory board report and the special audit report. Therefore, one can therefore speak of “limited publicity” of the dependency report in German law, even if it can not be fully disclosed. 

DOI :10.26650/annales.2020.69.0000   IUP :10.26650/annales.2020.69.0000    Full Text (PDF)

Die begrenzte Offenlegung des Abhängigkeitsberichts (§ 312 AktG) im deutschen Recht

Funda Özdin

Im Rahmen des Schutzsystems des deutschen faktischen Konzernrechts (§§ 311 ff. AktG) werden besondere Vorschriften (§§ 312 - 315 AktG) geregelt, welche spezielle Instrumenten bzw. Mechanismen zur Überprüfung der Einhaltung des Benachteiligungsverbots der Grundnorm § 311 AktG vorsehen. In diesem Zusammenhang schreibt das Gesetz vor, dass alle Rechtsgeschäfte und Maßnahmen, die durch die Abhängigkeit beeinflusst sein können, in einem Abhängigkeitsbericht (§ 312 AktG) dokumentiert und der Bericht selbst dann durch den Abschlussprüfer (§ 313 AktG) sowie den Aufsichtsrat der abhängigen Gesellschaft (§ 314 AktG) und ggf. durch Sonderprüfer (§ 315 AktG) überprüft werden müssen. Der Bericht wird de lege lata nicht offengelegt und er ist grundsätzlich für die Abschlussprüfer, Aufsichtsrat und Sonderprüfer bestimmt. Die außenstehenden Aktionäre und Gläubiger der abhängigen Gesellschaft haben aus Gründen der Vertraulichkeit auch kein Einsichtsrecht in den Abhängigkeitsbericht. Aber der Bericht gewinnt trotzdem bis zu einem gewissen Grad Publizität und verbessert die Informationsmöglichkeiten der außenstehenden Aktionäre bzw. Gläubiger dadurch, dass die Schlusserklärung des Vorstands in dem Lagebericht, die Prüfungsergebnisse des Aufsichtsrats in dem Aufsichtsratsbericht sowie ggf. der Sonderprüfungsbericht offengelegt werden. Man kann daher von einer “begrenzten Offenlegung„ des Abhängigkeitsberichts im deutschen Recht sprechen, auch wenn der Bericht selbst nicht vollständig offengelegt werden darf.

DOI :10.26650/annales.2020.69.0000   IUP :10.26650/annales.2020.69.0000    Full Text (PDF)

Alman Hukukunda Bağlılık Raporunun (§ 312 AktG) Kısmen Açıklanması

Funda Özdin

Alman hukukunda fiili topluluklar için öngörülmüş olan sistem kapsamında (§§ 311 ff. AktG), bağlı şirketlerin hakimiyetin uygulanması suretiyle kayba uğratılmasını yasaklayan temel normun (§ 311 AktG) gereği gibi uygulanabilmesini sağlamak amacıyla özel düzenlemeler yapılmış (§§ 312 - 315 AktG); bu amaca yönelik birtakım özel araçlar ve mekanizmalar öngörülmüştür. Bu bağlamda hakimiyet etkisi altında yapılan tüm hukuki işlemlerin ve alınan önlemlerin bir “bağlılık raporu” kapsamında bildirilmesi; bu raporun kapanış denetçileri (§ 313 AktG), bağlı şirketin denetim kurulu (§ 314 AktG) ve -atanmış olmaları halinde- özel denetçiler (§ 315 AktG) tarafından kontrol edilmesi/değerlendirilmesi öngörülmüştür. Kanun gereği söz konusu bağlılık raporunun kamuya açıklanması söz konusu olmayıp; rapor esasen gerekli kontrollerin yapılması amacına yönelik olarak söz konusu kapanış denetçileri, denetim kurulu ve özel denetçiler için öngörülmüştür. Bağlı şirketin azınlıkta kalan pay sahipleri ve alacaklıları ise bağlılık raporunun gizliliği ilkesi gereğince (raporu) inceleme yetkisine sahip değildirler. Ancak raporun sonuç kısmının yönetim kurulunun faaliyet raporuna konulması, denetim kurulunun rapora ilişkin değerlendirmesinin denetim kurulu raporunda yer alması ve -varsa- özel denetçi raporunun açıklanması sebebiyle, bağlılık raporunun belli bir dereceye kadar aleniyet kazanması ve böylelikle bağlı şirketin azınlık pay sahipleri ile alacaklılarının -kısmen de olsa- raporda yer alan bilgilere ulaşması söz konusu olmaktadır. Dolayısıyla bağlılık raporu her ne kadar bütünüyle açıklanmasa/aleniyet kazanmasa da, gerek raporun sonuç kısmının yıllık faaliyet raporunda yer alacak olması, gerekse raporu inceleme yetkisi olan kişilerin rapora ilişkin değerlendirmelerinin açıklanacak olması sebebiyle, Alman hukukunda bağlılık raporunun “kısmen” de olsa aleniyet kazandığından bahsedilebilecektir.


EXTENDED ABSTRACT


The provisions of German group law are based on the basic idea that the control possibility of a de facto dominant company creates the risk that it will not use its potential for influence in the common interest of the group, but will pursue another business interest to the detriment of the dependent company (“Group conflict”). The German legislator wants to prevent this with the basic norm of § 311 AktG in such a way that on the one hand it establishes an absolute ban on disadvantage, but on the other hand it allows compensation for disadvantages in the event of a violation. In order to ensure compliance with this basic standard, he regulates claims for damages in the event of a violation of this regulation (§§ 317, 318 AktG).

Furthermore, as a part of the protection system of the de facto group law in Germany (§§ 311 ff. AktG), special regulations are provided which regulate special instruments or mechanisms for checking compliance with the basic rule of the prohibition of disadvantage (§ 311 AktG). 

In this context, the law stipulates that all legal transactions and measures that may be influenced by dependency must be documented in a dependency report (§ 312 AktG) and that the report must then be checked by the auditor (§ 313 AktG) and the supervisory board of the dependent company (§ 314 AktG) and by special auditors (§ 315 AktG). The report is not published de lege lata and is generally intended for the auditors, the supervisory board and special auditors. The Articles of Association cannot order the disclosure of the dependent company report either, as this is mandatory law within the meaning of § 23/5 AktG. For reasons of confidentiality, the shareholders and creditors of the dependent company also have no right to inspect the dependency report. However, the shareholders’ right to information according to § 131 AktG remains unaffected by the confidentiality of the dependency report, so that the shareholders can also request information at the annual general meeting about individual events explained in the dependency report. But, this does not mean that shareholders can request the content of the dependency report at the general meeting. They can ask specific questions about certain business transactions (e.g. about contractual terms for significant transactions with affiliated companies) insofar as these are important for the assessment of the agenda and do not require confidentiality.

The confidentiality of the dependency report is based on a legislative weighing up of conflicting interests of the parties involved (companies, shareholders, creditors) and thus on the conscious decision of the legislator. According to the legislator, the dependency report must be concrete and provide detailed information so that it can fulfil its purpose. The report has to discuss and evaluate the internal processes of the group. According to the legislator, the outsiders would be better protected if the report were available to them. This would enable them to better assess whether there is evidence of discrimination. But such a report, which is replete with many managerial details, could not be made public. The confidentiality interests of the companies concerned argue against disclosure. In the opinion of the legislator, it must be possible for it to remain confidential, else it would prohibit reporting with necessary openness on transactions whose disclosure could be detrimental to the company.

In principle, the report is confidential, but it nevertheless gains a certain degree of publicity. Firstly, this is done by the management board of the dependent company issuing a summary final declaration at the end of the dependent company report on the specific points and including this in the management report, which must be disclosed in accordance with § 325 HGB. Secondly, the dependency report is examined by the supervisory board and the audit report of the supervisory board is disclosed in the same way as the management report (§ 175/2 AktG; § 325 HGB). Thirdly, the report of the special auditors is disclosed and submitted to the commercial register (§ 145/6 AktG). The report will also be announced by the management board as an item on the agenda when the next annual general meeting is convened (§ 145/6 AktG). In this way, the special audit report gains extensive disclosure and thus plays an important role in the protection system of §§ 311 ff. AktG. On the basis of these disclosure requirements, one can finally speak of “limited publicity” of the dependency report in German law, even if the report itself cannot be fully disclosed.


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APA

Özdin, F. (2019). The Limited Publicity of the Dependency Report (§ 312 AktG) in German Law. Annales de la Faculté de Droit d’Istanbul, 0(0), -. https://doi.org/10.26650/annales.2020.69.0000


AMA

Özdin F. The Limited Publicity of the Dependency Report (§ 312 AktG) in German Law. Annales de la Faculté de Droit d’Istanbul. 2019;0(0):-. https://doi.org/10.26650/annales.2020.69.0000


ABNT

Özdin, F. The Limited Publicity of the Dependency Report (§ 312 AktG) in German Law. Annales de la Faculté de Droit d’Istanbul, [Publisher Location], v. 0, n. 0, p. -, 2019.


Chicago: Author-Date Style

Özdin, Funda,. 2019. “The Limited Publicity of the Dependency Report (§ 312 AktG) in German Law.” Annales de la Faculté de Droit d’Istanbul 0, no. 0: -. https://doi.org/10.26650/annales.2020.69.0000


Chicago: Humanities Style

Özdin, Funda,. The Limited Publicity of the Dependency Report (§ 312 AktG) in German Law.” Annales de la Faculté de Droit d’Istanbul 0, no. 0 (Mar. 2021): -. https://doi.org/10.26650/annales.2020.69.0000


Harvard: Australian Style

Özdin, F 2019, 'The Limited Publicity of the Dependency Report (§ 312 AktG) in German Law', Annales de la Faculté de Droit d’Istanbul, vol. 0, no. 0, pp. -, viewed 2 Mar. 2021, https://doi.org/10.26650/annales.2020.69.0000


Harvard: Author-Date Style

Özdin, F. (2019) ‘The Limited Publicity of the Dependency Report (§ 312 AktG) in German Law’, Annales de la Faculté de Droit d’Istanbul, 0(0), pp. -. https://doi.org/10.26650/annales.2020.69.0000 (2 Mar. 2021).


MLA

Özdin, Funda,. The Limited Publicity of the Dependency Report (§ 312 AktG) in German Law.” Annales de la Faculté de Droit d’Istanbul, vol. 0, no. 0, 2019, pp. -. [Database Container], https://doi.org/10.26650/annales.2020.69.0000


Vancouver

Özdin F. The Limited Publicity of the Dependency Report (§ 312 AktG) in German Law. Annales de la Faculté de Droit d’Istanbul [Internet]. 2 Mar. 2021 [cited 2 Mar. 2021];0(0):-. Available from: https://doi.org/10.26650/annales.2020.69.0000 doi: 10.26650/annales.2020.69.0000


ISNAD

Özdin, Funda. The Limited Publicity of the Dependency Report (§ 312 AktG) in German Law”. Annales de la Faculté de Droit d’Istanbul 0/0 (Mar. 2021): -. https://doi.org/10.26650/annales.2020.69.0000



TIMELINE


Submitted13.04.2020
Accepted11.05.2020
Published Online11.08.2020

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