11 April, 2020
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Deadline for submission of public company reports has been extended

Since the package of measures to support the economy and to the business entities was announced, this topic attracted scrutiny and was discussed at length in expert circles. The publication of instruments for implementation of these measures, worth an estimated EUR 5.1 billion, was keenly expected.  Now that it has been published, we need to consider who was the “greatest beneficiary” and who will be most affected by these instruments.

 

Public companies are not exempt

As business entities founded by the Republic of Serbia, an autonomous province or a unit of local self-government, public companies are an important pillar of the Serbian economy. The state establishes these business entities as important providers of the most essential activities, the so-called “activities of general interest”. Thereby, these entities, although under the auspices of the state, require additional assistance in overcoming this crisis caused by the pandemic. In line with this, the Government of the Republic of Serbia, with the co-signature of the President of the Republic of Serbia, passed the Decree on moving deadlines for submission of quarterly reports on the implementation of annual or three-year operation programs during the state of emergency caused by the Covid-19 pandemic (“Decree”).  Although it is a very short document with only three articles, it greatly facilitates the position of public companies.

 

Deadline for submission of reports

The Decree moves the deadline for submission of quarterly reports on the implementation of annual or three-year business programs (“deadline“), which is prescribed by the provision of Article 63 (3) of the Public Companies Act (“Act”), during the state of emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Law, a public company founded by the Republic of Serbia is obliged to submit quarterly reports on implementation of annual or three-year business programs to the Ministry of Economy. In the case of public companies founded by an autonomous province or local self-government unit, the report is to be submitted to the competent authority of the autonomous province or of the local self-government unit. The report enables monitoring of the implementation of an annual or three-year business program of the public company. The form of the report is prescribed by the Minister of economy, and most importantly, the report must be submitted within 30 days from the end of the quarter. The decree extended this deadline i.e. moved it.

 

Deadline extended

The deadline referred to in Article 63 (3) of the Act shall be extended to 30 days from the date of termination of the state of emergency. Under this formulation, the deadline is fixed for a time point that is determinable. It remains to be seen how long the state of emergency will be in place, given that it was introduced on 15 March, and according to the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, decision on the state of emergency can be effective up to the maximum of 90 days. Upon expiration of this period, the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia may extend the decision on the state of emergency for another 90 days, by the majority of votes from the total number of deputies. Furthermore, when the National Assembly is not in a position to convene, the decision proclaiming the state of emergency will be adopted by the President of the Republic together with the President of the National Assembly and the Prime Minister, under the same terms as by the National Assembly. Until the lifting of the state of emergency the exact date until when the deadline has been extended remains uncertain.

This Decree came into force on April 10, 2020.

 

For more information, you can contact us at covid19@geciclaw.com.