Menu

Articles

Brief Analysis on the Choice of Non-financing Guarantee in Cross-border M&A Transactions By David Wang  Chun Chen Yiming Huang 2018-01-17

 

 
 
 
 

伴随着经济全球化的不断深入,国际资本已成为滚滚潮流波及到世界各个角落和各个行业。企业间并购已成为众多跨国公司实现经营战略目标以及协同效应的主要手段之一。在跨境并购交易中,尤其是外国投资者并购境内企业或中国企业“走出去”进行境外投资的交易,跨境担保是较为常见的安排。从担保的主债务类别来看,跨境担保[1]模式可以分为融资性担保和非融资性担保。融资性担保顾名思义主要针对收购方以其资产作为担保财产而获取融资;非融资性担保则常用于为保障并购各方利益所做出的履约担保安排。其中,融资性担保已为企业和银行较为广泛地使用,有关融资性跨境担保所涉及的中国外汇监管问题及风险点已有诸多深度分析,但是对于非融资性担保则讨论较少。实践中,非融资性担保模式在不同交易结构下具有多样性、灵活性等特点,但同时也因受制于中国外汇监管措施,面临诸多实践困境,值得关注和讨论。本文将着重对不同跨境并购交易结构下使用非融资性担保可能面临的实践困境及风险进行分析。

 

With the deepening of economic globalization, international capital has flown into every part of the world and all kinds of industry sectors. Merger and acquisition (“M&A”) among enterprises has become one of the major tools for multinational companies to achieve strategic goals and synergies. Cross-border guarantee is commonly seen in those cross-border merger and acquisition transactions, especially foreign investor’s acquisition of PRC company and PRC company’s foreign investment. Based on the principal debt secured by the guarantee, cross-border guarantees[1] can be categorized into financing guarantee and non-financing guarantee. Financing guarantee, by its name, refers to the acquirer’s access to financing by offering guarantee of its assets; non-financing guarantee is often seen as performance guarantee in protection of the rights and interests of the parties to the transaction. Financing guarantee has been widely used by banks and enterprises and there has been much in-depth analysis on PRC foreign exchange control issues and risks associated therewith. Yet on the other hand, there have been very few discussions about non-financing guarantee in cross-border M&A transactions. In practice, non-financing guarantee can take different forms and be quite flexible under different transaction structures, yet it is still subject to the PRC foreign exchange control, and thus encounters many practical challenges, which deserves attention and analysis. This article, by focusing on non-financing guarantee, will briefly introduce the practical challenges faced by non-financing guarantee under different cross-border M&A transaction structures and the risk analysis thereof.

 
 
 
 
 

 

一、跨境并购交易中为何需要非融资性担保

 

Why Do We Need Non-financing Guarantee in Cross-border M&A Transactions

 

跨境并购交易具有交易结构复杂、交易金额高、付款结构多样性、交割条件繁杂等特点。因此,除了常见的融资性担保外,非融资性担保可以为确保收购协议履约提供广泛的担保安排,以保障并购交易各方的利益。

Cross-border M&A transaction is featured with complicated transaction structure, high transaction value, various payment arrangement and complex closing conditions. Therefore, apart from the commonly used financing guarantee, non-financing guarantee can provide more extensive guarantee for the performance of the purchase agreement so as to protect the rights and interests of the parties to the transaction.

 

首先,跨境并购交易一般涉及复杂的交易结构安排,并购双方出于各种税务及商业目的的考量往往会设计多层交易架构,而实际签约方主体可能只是并购双方在海外新设立的子公司或特殊目的公司。在此类情形下,若对签约主体资信能力及履约能力信心不足,则可要求签约主体的关联方(通常是该签约主体直接或间接股东[2])提供担保,以保证履行其在收购协议项下的所有义务。

First of all, cross-border M&A transaction usually involves complicated transaction structures.  For various tax and commercial reasons, the parties often design a transaction structure with several layers of entities, and the contracting party could be merely a newly established offshore subsidiary or SPV of the parties. Under such circumstances, if there is low confidence on the contract performance capacity of such contracting entity, one may require an affiliate of the contracting entity (usually the direct or indirect shareholder of the contracting party[2]) to provide a guarantee for the performance of all the obligations under the purchase agreement.

 

其次,跨境并购交易涉及的交易金额往往非常高,且通常会设计分期付款安排。在此类情形下,出售方通常会要求收购方或其关联方提供担保以确保收购价款的全额支付。

Secondly, cross-border M&A transaction usually has extremely high transaction value, and thus is associated with installment payment arrangements. Under such circumstances, the seller will often require the acquirer or its affiliate to provide a guarantee for the full payment of the acquisition price.

 

另外,根据收购方对目标公司的尽职调查结果,跨境并购交易往往会设置繁杂的交割条件,整个交易从签约到交割可能需要数月甚至更长的时间。对于出售方而言,某些收购协议下的义务需要一定时间才能履行完毕,如质量保证责任、项目完工责任等。在此类情形下,为确保出售方充分履行其在收购协议下的这些义务,收购方也可能要求出售方或其关联方提供担保。

Moreover, based on the acquirer’s due diligence on the target company, cross-border M&A transaction is usually subject to complex closing conditions and the entire process from signing to closing could take months or even longer. For the seller, certain obligations under the purchase agreement may take time to fulfill, such as quality guarantee, project completion and etc. Under such circumstances, to ensure the seller’s full performance of such obligations under the purchase agreement, the acquirer may also require the seller or its affiliate to provide a guarantee.

 

二、跨境担保分类

 

Types of Cross-border Guarantees

 

2014年,随着《跨境担保外汇管理规定》(汇发[2014]29号文)的出台,所有涉及跨境资本流动的担保被正式统称为跨境担保,并分为内保外贷、外保内贷和其它形式跨境担保三个类别,并施以不同的管理要求。其中,内保外贷是指担保人注册地在境内、债务人和债权人注册地均在境外的跨境担保。外保内贷是指担保人注册地在境外、债务人和债权人注册地均在境内的跨境担保。其他形式跨境担保是指除前述内保外贷和外保内贷以外的其他跨境担保情形。所有跨境担保的安排均需要在现有跨境担保法律管理体系框架下进行。

The implementation of the Provisions on the Foreign Exchange Administration of Cross-border Guarantees (Huifa [2014] No. 29) in 2014 officially integrated all guarantees concerning cross-border capital flow as cross-border guarantees, and categorized them into “Offshore Debt under Onshore Guarantee”, “Onshore Debt under Offshore Guarantee” and other types of cross-border guarantee, which are subject to different regulatory requirements. Among these, “Offshore Debt under Onshore Guarantee” refers to the cross-border guarantee where the guarantor is incorporated in PRC, while the debtor and creditor are both incorporated offshore; “Onshore Debt under Offshore Guarantee” refers to cross-border guarantee where the guarantor is incorporated offshore, while both debtor and creditor are incorporated in PRC; other types of cross-border guarantee refer to those cross-border guarantees that are neither “Offshore Debt under Onshore Guarantee” nor “Onshore Debt under Offshore Guarantee”. All cross-border guarantees must follow the existing legislation regime of cross-border guarantees.

 

三、现行法律体系下非融资性担保所面临的实践风险

 

Practical Risks Faced by Non-financing Guarantees under the Existing Legislation Regime

 

一个典型的跨境并购交易中会涉及到众多交易主体,根据交易主体注册地的不同更是会进一步衍生出众多的交易结构。由于非融资性担保本身不具有融资目的的特殊性,以及现行法律体系下对跨境担保的登记途径有限,在不同的交易结构下,非融资性担保在实践中往往会遇到诸多风险,有些甚至于影响了该担保方式的可行性。笔者根据自身的实务经验,将在下文对不同交易模式下非融资担保所面临的相关风险进行分析。

A typical cross-border M&A transaction usually concerns various transaction parties, and based on the places of incorporation of such parties, the transaction will derive into a variety of transaction structures. Due to the fact that the non-financing guarantee itself does not serve for financing purpose, and there are limited channels for cross-border guarantee registration under the existing legislation regime, non-financing guarantees usually face various risks in practice under different transaction structures, some of which even may affect the feasibility of the guarantee. The authors, based on hands-on practical experience, hereby analyze the practical risks faced by non-financing guarantees under different transaction structures.

 

1.收购方、出售方均在境外,担保方在境内(表1)- 准“内保外贷”

Both Acquirer and Seller are Offshore; Guarantor is Onshore (Chart 1) – Quasi “Offshore Debt under Onshore Guarantee”

 

 

风险系数/Risk Level:★★★☆☆

 

风险承担方/Risk Bearer:境外出售方/Offshore Seller

 

风险点/Risks:

➡ 外汇管理局对于是否认可收购协议作为内保外贷主合同进行登记的态度不一;

Foreign exchange administration authorities’ views vary regarding whether the purchase agreement can be acknowledged as the principal agreement for “Offshore Debt under Onshore Guarantee” registration;

 

➡ 涉及债权人(即境外收购方)的实际控制人是中国境内企业的需履行境外投资相关核准/备案手续;

In case the debtor (i.e. offshore acquirer)’s de facto controller is a PRC domestic company, outbound investment approval/filing is required;

 

➡ 部分外汇管理局对于涉及房地产、酒店、影城、娱乐业、体育俱乐部等特殊行业的内保外贷资金不予办理登记;

Certain foreign exchange administration authorities do not accept registration for “Offshore Debt under Onshore Guarantee” in case it is related to real estate, hotel, cinema, entertainment, sports clubs and other special industries;

 

➡ 发生担保履约时,还需特别注意境内担保企业的境外放款额度。

Upon guarantee performance, the onshore guarantor shall pay special attention to its quota for offshore loan disbursement.

 

《跨境担保外汇管理规定》第三条规定,“内保外贷是指担保人注册在境内、债务人和债权人注册地均在境外的跨境担保”。该模式符合内保外贷的这一定义,但是与典型内保外贷模式又有一定的区别,即该模式下只存在境内担保,而不存在境外的融资性协议(如贷款合同)。根据《跨境担保外汇管理规定》的规定,如果是由境内企业直接提供担保,需在签订担保合同后15个工作日内,至外汇管理局办理内保外贷登记。如果由境内银行提供担保,银行需通过内部数据接口程序向外汇管理局报送相关数据。

According to Article 3 of the Provisions on the Foreign Exchange Administration of Cross-border Guarantees, “Offshore Debt under Onshore Guarantee shall refer to the cross-border guarantee where the guarantor is incorporated in PRC, while the debtor and creditor are both incorporated offshore.”  This method of guarantee falls under the definition of “Offshore Debt under Onshore Guarantee”, while it is different from a typical “Offshore Debt under Onshore Guarantee”, i.e. under this method of guarantee, there only exists onshore guarantee, while there is no offshore financing agreement (such as loan agreement). According to the Provisions on the Foreign Exchange Administration of Cross-border Guarantees, if a domestic company directly provides a guarantee, it shall register such “Offshore Debt under Onshore Guarantee” with the foreign exchange administration authority within 15 working days upon the execution of the guarantee agreement. If a domestic bank provides the guarantee, the bank shall submit the relevant data to the foreign exchange administration authority through the internal data transmission portal.

 

尽管该模式的结构非常常见,实践中仍有以下几点值得企业特别注意:

Though the structure under such guarantee is commonly seen, the following issues are worth noting in practice:

1) 在跨境并购交易中,此类跨境担保所担保的主合同一般为收购协议而非常见的融资性协议(如贷款协议)。实践中,各地外管局对于此类跨境担保能否办理内保外贷登记态度不一。根据笔者与多地外汇管理局的咨询,部分地方外汇管理局认为内保外贷登记的对象应该是“外贷”,即境外融资性协议,跨境并购合同等非融资性合同并不符合登记条件,从而不予登记。未经内保外贷登记,一旦发生担保履约的情形,境内担保方的资金将无法汇出致使担保安排的实质目的无法达成。

In a cross-border M&A transaction, the principal contract under such cross-border guarantee is usually the purchase agreement, instead of commonly seen financing agreement (such as loan agreement). In practice, local foreign exchange administration authorities hold different views on the feasibility of “Offshore Debt under Onshore Guarantee” registration for such cross-border guarantee. Based on the authors’ inquiry with various local foreign exchange administration authorities, some of the local authorities deem that there shall be an offshore loan (i.e. offshore financing agreement) under the “Offshore Debt under Onshore Guarantee” and a cross-border M&A agreement, which is not a financing agreement, does not comply with the registration requirements. Therefore, they will not accept registration of such cross-border guarantee as “Offshore Debt under Onshore Guarantee”. Upon the performance of the guarantee, if not registered as “Offshore Debt under Onshore Guarantee”, the onshore guarantor will not be able to remit the fund offshore, and thus it will frustrate the substantial goal of the guarantee arrangement.

2) 外汇管理局或银行在审核该类内保外贷时,一般采用穿透原则,也即会穿透查明债务人(即境外收购方)的实际控制人是否是中国境内企业。若为中国境内企业的则会进而要求该中国境内企业提供已履行境外投资相关核准/备案手续的文件。随着《企业境外投资管理办法》的正式发布,值得注意的是,新法项下对境外投资的定义范围有所扩大,包括了境内企业和其控制的境外企业,以投入资产、权益或提供融资、担保等方式,获得境外所有权、控制权、经营管理权及其他权益的投资活动。据笔者与多地外汇管理局的咨询,对于涉及收购方实际控制人是中国境内企业的内保外贷,履行境外投资相关核准/备案手续是办理内保外贷登记的前提条件。因此,在涉及境外收购方的实际控制人是中国境内企业的跨境并购交易中,应在交易文件中特别明确中国境内企业需履行境外投资相关核准/备案手续的义务。

The foreign exchange authorities and the banks adopt the “piercing principle”. When reviewing such “Offshore Debt under Onshore Guarantee”, i.e. the de facto controller of the debtor (i.e. the offshore acquirer) will be identified. In case the de facto controller of the offshore acquirer is a PRC domestic company, outbound investment approval/filing proof of such domestic company will be further required. With the official promulgation of Administrative Measures for the Outbound Investment of Enterprises, it is worth noting that the definition of outbound investment is expanded to include investment activities conducted by a domestic company, either directly or via an overseas enterprise under its control, through making investment with assets and equities or providing financing or a guarantee in order to obtain overseas ownership, control rights, business management rights and other related equities. Based on the authors’ inquiry with various local foreign exchange authorities, where an “Offshore Debt under Onshore Guarantee” involves an acquirer whose de facto controller is a PRC domestic company, outbound investment approval/filing is a pre-condition for registration of “Offshore Debt under Onshore Guarantee”. Therefore, in a cross-border M&A transaction where the de facto controller of the offshore acquirer is a PRC domestic company, it shall be expressly identified in the transaction documents that the PRC domestic company is obliged to perform the outbound investment approval/filing.

3) 行业因素在此模式下也是一个重要考量因素。根据《国家外汇管理局关于进一步推进外汇管理改革完善真实合规性审核的通知》政策问答(二)的解释,内保外贷项下资金如果用于房地产、酒店、影城、娱乐业、体育俱乐部等特殊行业的,外汇管理局或银行会加强审核。尽管本文讨论的模式项下并不涉及通过内保外贷模式融资,但因为一旦发生担保履约,也会导致资金外流,所以外汇管理局的操作会非常谨慎。根据笔者与多地外汇管理局的咨询,不论是否涉及融资,只要该内保外贷模式下涉及的企业与上述行业相关,基本很难受理。因此,若涉及上述行业的企业希望采用该种模式的,建议通过专业律师提前与当地外汇管理局沟通确认。

Industry sector is also one of the vital elements to consider under this method. According to the explanation under the Policy Q&A (II) for the Notice of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Further Advancing the Reform of Foreign Exchange Administration and Improving Examination of Authenticity and Compliance, in case the funds under the “Offshore Debt under Onshore Guarantee” are used for real estate, hotel, cinema, entertainment, sports clubs or other special industries, foreign exchange administration authorities or banks will tighten their review procedures regarding these transactions.  Although the method under discussion herein does not concern financing through “Offshore Debt under Onshore Guarantee”, yet the performance of the guarantee will lead to capital outflow, the foreign exchange administration authorities are very conservative regarding these industries. Based on the authors’ inquiry with various local foreign exchange administration authorities, when the above-mentioned industries are concerned, foreign exchange administration authorities are unlikely to accept the registration applications, regardless of whether any financing is concerned. Therefore, if a company falling under the above industries wishes to adopt this method, it is suggested to confirm the arrangement with the local foreign exchange authority in advance through professional lawyers.

4) 如果发生实际履约担保的,境内担保企业将对境外出售方放款。根据《关于完善银行内保外贷外汇管理的通知》(汇综发(2017)108号)的规定,首先,履约额需纳入企业境外放款额度登记和管理。企业境外放款余额上限规定于《关于进一步明确境内企业人民币境外放款业务有关事项的通知》(银发(2016)306号),为最近一期经审计的所有者权益*宏观审慎调节系数(0.3)。因此,境内担保企业在履约时应注意审查是否会超过自己的境外放款额度上限;其次,境内担保企业应在担保履约之日起15个工作日内到当地外汇局办理对外债权登记。

In case of actual occurrence of guarantee performance, the offshore guarantor shall make outbound payment. According to the Notice on Improving Foreign Exchange Administration on the Offshore Debt under Onshore Guarantee of Banks (Hui Zong Fa (2017) No. 108), firstly, the amount of the guarantee performance shall be subject to registration and administration on the offshore loan disbursement quota, which is the latest audited owner's equity * coefficient for the macro-prudential regulation (0.3) according to the Notice on Further Clarifying Matters on Domestic Enterprises' Business of Granting Loans to Overseas Borrowers (Yin Fa (2016) No. 306). Therefore, in case of guarantee performance, the onshore guarantor shall check internally whether the amount to be paid will exceed the quota; secondly, the onshore guarantor shall complete the registration of the creditor rights against the offshore acquirer with foreign exchange administration authorities within 15 working days upon performance.

 

2.收购方、出售方均在境内,担保方在境外(表2)- 类“外保内贷”

Both Acquirer and Seller are Onshore; Guarantor is Offshore (Chart 2) – Quasi “Onshore Debt under Offshore Guarantee”

 

 

风险系数/Risk Level:★★★★☆

 

风险承担方/Risk Bearer:境内出售方 (Onshore Seller)

 

风险点/Risks:

➡ 不属于要求登记的跨境担保类型。担保履约时可能会由于此类担保未经登记而面临履约款项跨境支付受到外汇管制的棘手问题;

It does not fall under the registrable cross-border guarantee. The guarantee performance may face a practical issue of foreign exchange restrictions against the cross-border payments without cross-border guarantee registration;

 

➡ 变通方案包括:(1) 通过诉讼或仲裁取得判决/裁决文书从而进行跨境支付;或 (2) 由境外担保方先行将相应款项出借给境内收购方,供境内收购方履约。但此变通方案受限于境内企业的经营范围和外债额度。

Alternatives include: (1) making cross-border payments by obtaining a judgment/award through court trial or arbitration; or (2) having the offshore guarantor lend the relevant fund to the onshore acquirer to perform its contractual obligations. Yet such alternative is subject to the business scope and foreign debt quota of the onshore company.

 

该模式从表面上看似乎是非常典型的“外保内贷”结构。但是,《跨境担保外汇管理规定》第三章所规定的外保内贷是指境内非金融机构从境内金融机构借用贷款或获得授信额度,而这里的潜在“债权人”是境内出售方,而不是金融机构,因此不属于需要或者可以登记的“外保内贷”,因此也就无法做到根据《跨境担保外汇管理规定》的要求通过银行进行相关担保数据的报送。

This method seems to be a typical “Onshore Debt under Offshore Guarantee” structure.  However, “Onshore Debt under Offshore Guarantee” provided under Chapter 3 of the Provisions on the Foreign Exchange Administration of Cross-border Guarantees refers the situation that the domestic non-financial institutions borrows funds or obtain credit quotas from the domestic financial institutions, while under this method, the potential “creditor” is the onshore seller, instead of a financial institution. Therefore, such method of guarantee cannot be categorized as “Onshore Debt under Offshore Guarantee” which is required to be registered or registrable.  Therefore, such cross-border guarantee cannot be reported via bank in accordance with the Provisions on the Foreign Exchange Administration of Cross-border Guarantees.

 

对于此类担保方与债权人(即出售方)分属境内、境外的情形,在担保履约时可能会由于此类担保未经登记而面临履约款项跨境支付受到外汇管制的棘手问题。在实践中,具有一定可行性的替代方案包括:

Under such circumstance that the guarantor and the creditor (i.e. the seller) are located cross border, the guarantee performance may face a practical issue of foreign exchange restrictions against the cross-border payments without cross-border guarantee registration. In practice, alternative solutions with certain feasibility include:

1)  诉讼仲裁模式:由境内出售方根据担保合同在境内起诉境外担保企业,在取得胜诉的判决、裁判文书后,以胜诉文书为依据,向外管局申请跨境支付。考虑到境外判决或裁判文书在实践中是否能够被外汇管理局认可作为申请跨境支付的依据存在一定的不确定因素,因此,在选择交易文件的争议解决条款时,如预见后续担保履约时跨境资金流动会有障碍的,可以考虑约定在境内的法院或仲裁机构解决争议以确保今后跨境支付的可行性。

Litigation/Arbitration: the onshore seller may initiate a lawsuit/arbitration against the offshore guarantor. With a judgment or award in favor of the onshore seller, it may apply to the foreign exchange administration authorities for cross-border payment. Considering that it is questionable whether a foreign judgment or award can be accepted by the foreign exchange administration authorities for cross-border payment, when determining the dispute resolution clause of the transaction documents, if it is anticipated that there could be obstacles for cross-border fund payment at the time of guarantee performance, it is advisable to choose the PRC court or arbitration institution for dispute resolution to ensure the feasibility of future cross-border payment. 

2) 签订借款合同模式:在境内收购方本身经营范围包含投资类经营活动或是一家投资性公司(具体分析见下段)的前提下,可以在担保合同中约定,一旦发生担保履约事件,境外担保企业/银行应立即与境内收购方签订借款合同,借款给境内收购方,境内收购方取得款项后再履行对境内出售方的支付义务。为了确保这一条款会被切实履行,保障出售方的利益,实践中可以考虑将事先定稿的借款协议附在交易文件中,且境外担保企业/银行及境内收购方均事先签署好签字页,交给律师代为保管,一旦发生担保履约事件,律师无条件交换签字页,促使借款合同生效。

Execution of Loan Agreement: provided that the onshore acquirer’s business scope includes “investment activities” or is an investment company (see detailed analysis in the following paragraph), the parties may specify in the guarantee agreement that upon the occurrence of a guarantee performance event, the offshore guarantor company/bank shall execute a loan agreement with the onshore acquirer immediately and lend the relevant fund to the onshore acquirer, upon which the onshore acquirer will perform its payment obligations against the onshore seller. To ensure the actual performance of such provisions and protect the interest of the seller, in practice it is advisable to attach the agreed form of the loan agreement to the transaction documents and have the offshore guarantor company/bank and the onshore acquirer to execute such loan agreement in advance and put the signature pages in escrow with the lawyers. Upon occurrence of a guarantee performance event, the lawyers will unconditionally exchange the signature pages and effectuate the loan agreement.

 

若拟采用本变通方案,需特别注意的是,实践中只有在境内收购方同时满足以下两个条件的情况下才得以采用此变通方式:(1) 境内收购方的经营范围需包含投资类经营活动或是一家投资性公司。根据《外债管理暂行办法》的规定,境内企业所借短期外债资金主要用作流动资金;中长期外债资金,应当严格按照批准的用途合理使用。根据该项规定,境内收购方进行股权投资所借取的外债仅能为中长期外债。而根据笔者与各地外汇管理局的咨询,中长期外债用途必须符合借款方经营范围方得以结汇使用。因此,如果外债资金系用于支付股权转让款,只有在境内收购方的经营范围本身包含投资类经营活动的情况下,此变通方案才有可行性,部分外管局甚至要求境内收购方必须是投资性公司才可以借取外债用于支付股权转让款;以及 (2) 境内收购方从境外担保方所借取的款项还必须在其届时的外债额度范围内。

It is worth noting that this alternative is only feasible in practice when the onshore acquirer meets both of the following conditions: (1) the onshore acquirer’s business scope shall include “investment activities” or shall be an investment company. According to the Interim Measures on the Management of Foreign Debt, an onshore enterprise’s short-term foreign debt shall be principally used for working capital; yet the use of the mid-long term foreign debt proceeds shall be strictly complied with the approved usage. Based on such, the foreign debt borrowed by the onshore acquirer’s equity investment can only be the mid-long term foreign debt. According to the authors’ consultation with various foreign exchange administration authorities, the usage of a mid-long term foreign debt proceeds must comply with the borrower’s business scope. Therefore, if the borrowed foreign debt fund is used for paying the equity transfer price, this alternative is feasible only when the onshore acquirer includes investment activities in its business scope. Certain foreign exchange administration authorities even require that the onshore acquirer to be an investment oriented company so as to borrow foreign debt for the payment of equity transfer price; and (2) the amount to be borrowed from the offshore guarantor shall be also within the foreign debt quota of the onshore acquirer at that time.

 

前述两种替代方案都存在操作繁琐、耗时长以及需要各方积极配合的缺点,但是,在没有其它可选的担保方式时,也不失为一个折中方案。

The above two alternatives both have the downsides of complicated and time-consuming procedures and largely depend on the active cooperation among the parties. However, these are still feasible compromises when the parties run out of other choices.

 

3.收购方、担保方在境内,出售方在境外(表3)- 其他跨境担保

Both Acquirer and Guarantor are Onshore; Seller is Offshore (Chart 3) - Other Cross-border Guarantee

 

 

风险系数/Risk Level:★★★☆☆

 

风险承担方/Risk Bearer:境外出售方/Offshore Seller

 

风险点/Risks:

➡ 不属于要求登记的跨境担保类型。担保履约时可能会由于此类担保未经登记而面临履约款项跨境支付受到外汇管制的棘手问题;

It does not fall under the registrable cross-border guarantee. The guarantee performance may face a practical issue of foreign exchange restrictions against the cross-border payments without cross-border guarantee registration;

 

➡ 变通方案包括: (1)通过诉讼或仲裁取得判决/裁决文书从而进行跨境支付;或 (2)由境内担保方先行将相应款项出借给境内收购方,供境内收购方履约。

Alternatives include: (1) make cross-border payments by obtaining a judgment/award through court trial or arbitration; or (2) have the onshore guarantor lend the relevant fund to the onshore acquirer to perform its contractual obligations.

 

该模式不属于《跨境担保外汇管理规定》中要求登记的跨境担保类型,同上述第2种模式一样,会因为担保方和债权人分处境内、境外而发生由于外汇管制而导致的支付履约款困难的问题。同样的,具有一定可行性的变通方案包括:(1) 通过诉讼或仲裁取得判决/裁决文书,再由担保方申请对外支付;或(2)由境内担保方先行向境内收购方出借相应款项,再由境内收购方向境外出售方履行支付义务的方案。该方案下,鉴于担保方与收购方同属境内,因此不会受限于上述第2种模式下经营范围和外债问题的限制。

This method does not fall under the registrable cross-border guarantee under the Provisions on the Foreign Exchange Administration of Cross-border Guarantees. Same as Method 2, this method also encounters the issue of difficulty in guarantee performance due to the foreign exchange control faced by the cross-border localities of the guarantor and creditor. Similarly, alternatives with certain feasibility include: (1) obtaining a judgment/award through court trial or arbitration, upon which the guarantor can apply for remittance of funds offshore; or (2) having the onshore guarantor lend the relevant fund to the onshore acquirer in the first place, and then the onshore acquirer will perform its payment obligation against the offshore seller. In this alternative, since both the guarantor and the acquirer are onshore, the issues of business scope and foreign debt concerned in Method 2 above do not apply here.

 

4.收购方、担保方在境外,出售方在境内(表4)- 其他跨境担保

Both Acquirer and Guarantor are Offshore, Seller is Onshore (Chart 4) - Other Cross-border Guarantee

 

 

风险系数/Risk Level:★★★☆☆

 

风险承担方/Risk Bearer:境内出售方/Onshore Seller

 

风险点/Risks:

➡ 不属于要求登记的跨境担保类型。担保履约时可能会由于此类担保未经登记而面临履约款项跨境支付受到外汇管制的棘手问题;

It does not fall under the registrable cross-border guarantee. The guarantee performance may face a practical issue of foreign exchange restrictions against the cross-border payments without cross-border guarantee registration;

 

➡ 变通方案包括:(1) 通过诉讼或仲裁取得判决/裁决文书从而进行跨境支付;或 (2) 由境外担保方将资金先行出借给境外收购方用于境外收购方履约。

Alternatives include: (1) making cross-border payments by obtaining a judgment/award through court trial or arbitration; or (2) having the offshore guarantor lend the relevant fund to the offshore acquirer to perform its contractual obligations.

 

该模式属于上述第3种模式的映射模式,同样也不属于《跨境担保外汇管理规定》中要求登记的跨境担保类型。本模式下的主要风险点与变通方案与上述第3种模式相同,因此不再赘述。

This method is the reflection of Method 3 above, and also does not fall under the registrable cross-border guarantee under the Provisions on the Foreign Exchange Administration of Cross-border Guarantees. The risks and alternatives associated with this method are the same as those of Method 3 above, and thus will not be repeated here.

 

5.出售方、担保方在境内,收购方在境外(表5)- 其他跨境担保

Both Seller and Guarantor are Onshore; Acquirer is Offshore (Chart 5) - Other Cross-border Guarantee

 

 

风险系数/Risk Level:★★★☆☆

 

风险承担方/Risk Bearer:境内担保企业/银行/Onshore Guarantor Company/Bank

 

风险点/Risks:

➡ 不属于要求登记的跨境担保类型。担保履约不存在障碍,但发生担保履约事件后,境内担保方对境外收购方的对外债权能否登记受限于外汇管理局的个案审核,可能存在障碍。

It does not fall under the registrable cross-border guarantee. The guarantee performance will not face obstacle, while upon guarantee performance, whether the creditor rights entitled to the onshore guarantor against the offshore acquirer is registrable will be subject to the foreign exchange administration authorities’ review on a case-by-case basis, and may face obstacles. 

 

该模式不属于《跨境担保外汇管理规定》中要求登记的跨境担保类型。实际操作中,如发生担保履约,因为债权人和担保方同处境内,担保方向债权人履约付款不会遇到资金跨境流动的障碍。但是境内担保方向境内出售方支付相关款项后,转而对境外收购方拥有一笔对外债权。由于该笔对外债权与一般的对外债权不同,即并无资金出境在先,仅存在未来的资金入境,实践中,此类特殊的对外债权能否登记受限于外汇管理局的个案审核,具有不确定性。如果未能实现对外债权的登记,境内担保方可能无法取得境外收购方的还款。

This method does not fall under the registrable cross-border guarantee under the Provisions on the Foreign Exchange Administration of Cross-border Guarantees. In practice, since both the creditor and the guarantor are onshore companies, the payment from the guarantor to the creditor will not face the issue of cross-border fund transmission at the time of the guarantee performance. Yet after payment of the fund by the onshore guarantor to the onshore seller, such payment in turn becomes the creditor rights owned by the onshore guarantor against the offshore acquirer. Such creditor rights do not arise from actual fund flow out of China, yet merely involve future fund flow into China, which is different from the ordinary offshore creditor rights. In practice, whether such special creditor rights against the offshore acquirer can be registered will be subject to the foreign exchange administration authorities’ review on a case-by-case basis, and thus is unpredictable. If not registered, onshore guarantor may not be indemnified by the offshore acquirer.

 

6.出售方、担保方在境外,收购方在境内(表6)- 其他跨境担保

Both Seller and Guarantor are Offshore, Acquirer is Onshore (Chart 6) - Other Cross-border Guarantee

 

 

风险系数/Risk Level:★★★★☆

 

风险承担方/Risk Bearer:境外担保企业/银行/Offshore Guarantor Company/Bank

 

风险点/Risks:

不属于要求登记的跨境担保类型。发生担保履约事件后境外担保方可直接向境外出售方付款,但是境外担保方可能面临无法获得境内收购方偿付的风险。

It does not fall under the registrable cross-border guarantee.  Upon guarantee performance, the offshore guarantor may make payment to the offshore seller directly, while it may face the risk of being unable to get indemnified from the onshore acquirer.

 

变通方案包括:(1) 通过诉讼或仲裁取得判决/裁决文书从而进行跨境支付;或 (2) 由境外担保方先行将相应款项出借给境内收购方,供境内收购方履约。但此变通方案受限于境内企业的经营范围和外债额度。

Alternatives include: (1) making cross-border payments by obtaining a judgment/award through court trial or arbitration; or (2) having the offshore guarantor lend the relevant fund to the onshore acquirer to perform its contractual obligations. Yet such alternative is subject to the business scope and foreign debt quota of the onshore company.

 

该模式不属于《跨境担保外汇管理规定》中要求登记的跨境担保类型。因为担保人和债权人同处境外,发生担保履约事件时,担保方向债权人履约付款不会受到跨境资金流动的阻碍。但是,一旦担保人向出售方代为支付相关款项,境内收购方和境外担保方之间将会形成一笔跨境债权债务关系。境内收购方今后向境外担保方偿付该笔款项将受外汇管制影响。考虑到此种模式非常容易成为对外转移资产的幌子,根据笔者与多地外汇管理局的咨询,绝大多数外汇管理局对此类跨境担保的安排持非常谨慎的态度。因此,在这种模式下,若发生担保履约,境外担保方可能面临无法获得偿付的风险。本模式下的变通方案及变通条件与上述第2种模式相同,因此不再赘述。

This method does not fall under the registrable cross-border guarantee under the Provisions on the Foreign Exchange Administration of Cross-border Guarantees. Since the guarantor and the creditor are both offshore, upon the performance of the guarantee, the guarantor’s payment to the creditor will not be hindered by cross-border fund flow restrictions. However, once the guarantor makes the payment to the seller on behalf of the buyer, there will be a cross-border creditor and debtor relationship between the onshore acquirer and offshore guarantor. The onshore acquirer’s future repayment to the offshore guarantor will be subject to foreign exchange control. Considering that this method is likely to be used as a disguised way to transfer assets overseas, based on the authors’ inquiry with various local foreign exchange administration authorities, most local authorities hold very strict attitude against such cross-border guarantee. Therefore, under this method, if there is guarantee performance, the offshore guarantor may face the risk of being unable to get indemnified. The alternatives and corresponding requirements for such alternatives are the same as those of Method 2 above, and thus are not repeated here.

 

综上,在跨境并购中的担保模式变化多样,涉及到的外汇监管以及各类衍生法律问题比较复杂。因此,企业在跨境并购时,如果涉及到需要使用跨境担保来保证交易的安全性,应及时寻求专业律师的意见并提前与各相关部门和银行进行咨询,以设计出安全、可行的跨境担保结构。

Above all, there are various guarantee methods in cross-border M&A transactions, which involve complicated foreign exchange control and legal issues. Therefore, for a cross-border M&A transaction, if the company wishes to use cross-border guarantee to ensure transaction safety, it shall promptly seek professional advice from lawyers and consult with the relevant authorities and banks in advance, so as to design a safe and feasible cross-border guarantee structure.

 

注:

[1] 跨境并购中,常见的跨境担保方式包括保证、抵押担保、质押担保等或其组合。本文所讨论的跨境担保主要针对保证这一担保模式。为求一致性,本文英语翻译中“跨境担保”统一译作“cross-border guarantee”。

In cross-border M&A, the cross-border security usually takes the form of guarantee, mortgage, pledge and etc. or a combination of the above.  The cross-border security discussed herein refers mainly to cross-border guarantee.  And we use the term “cross-border guarantee” throughout this article for consistency purpose.

 

[2] 现行法律法规本身并未强制要求担保人和债务人之间需具有股权或关联关系。

The existing laws and regulations do not impose statutory requirement that the guarantor and the debtor shall have shareholding or affiliation relationship.

 
 

 

特别声明:

以上所刊登的文章仅代表作者本人观点,不代表北京市中伦律师事务所或其律师出具的任何形式之法律意见或建议。

如需转载或引用该等文章的任何内容,请私信沟通授权事宜,并于转载时在文章开头处注明来源于公众号“中伦视界”及作者姓名。未经本所书面授权,不得转载或使用该等文章中的任何内容,含图片、影像等试听资料。如您有意就相关议题进一步交流或探讨,欢迎与本所联系。