The Act of 21 March 2021 introduced into Belgian law a flexible framework allowing companies in financial difficulty to negotiate a reorganisation plan in a confidential manner.
It also extended the possibilities to have a court-appointed representative and relaxed the requirements for the opening of judicial reorganisation proceedings, by removing the sanction of inadmissibility when all legally required annexes are not filed along with the petition. The petition can now be filed more easily, as the documents that must be appended to it can be submitted during the course of the proceedings.
These measures, which were justified by the negative effects of the pandemic on companies, were set to expire on 30 June 2021.
However, given that the financial and economic situation of many companies remains weak, they were extended until 16 July 2022, by a royal decree of 24 June 2021.
This extension is in line with the European Restructuring Directive, which should transposed into Belgian law no later than 17 July 2022.
A second development concerns the creation of a central register of economic indicators to identify companies in financial difficulty, established by a royal decree of 13 June 2021. The purpose of the register is to help the distressed company chambers of the business courts identify struggling businesses whose continuity could be in jeopardy.
To this end, relevant indicators are collected in the register based on a unique identifier, namely the company number. The indicators relate to the level of debt notified to the business court, attachment notices, the financial health indicator calculated by the National Bank of Belgium, the number of employees and regular transfer of the registered office.
Appropriate safeguards will be put in place and access to the register will be limited.