Beijing Head OfficeAdd: 18/F, Tower B, Xinsheng Plaza, 5 Finance Street, Xicheng District, Beijing 100032, PRCTel: (86-10) 6657 8066Fax: (86-10) 6657 8016Email: guantao@guantao.com Chengdu Office...
  • Release time: 2016 - 10 - 14
    On 31 October 2014, Guantao signed service contract of permanent legal counsel with Administration Bureau for Organs Directly under the Authority of the CPC Central Committee (ABO for short). 14 lawyers of different practice areas will form a power team to provide customized counsel services.A subordinated unit of General Office of the Communist Party of China, ABO is responsible for management of expenditure, finance, government car, state asset and real estate of central government, as well as life services for high-ranking government officials.
  • Release time: 2017 - 03 - 08
    On 20 January 2017, Zhi Sheng Group Holdings Limited (hereinafter referred to as “Zhi Sheng Group Holdings”, stock code: 8370.hk) had its H shares successfully listed on theHong Kong Stock Exchange Growth Enterprise Market.Zhi Sheng Group Holdings, founded in 1996, is a high-end office furniture manufacturer. Its production facilities, located in Wenjiang District, Chengdu, comprise seven buildings with total GFA of approximately 33,218.98 square meter. Its main clients include Chinese government agencies, financial institutions (state-owned and private) and other state-owned and private enterprises.Guantao Hong Kong Office acted as HK legal advisor for Zhi Sheng Group Holdings and provided HK legal services throughout the whole transaction. Leaders of this project are Mr. Lee, partner of ...
  • Release time: 2016 - 10 - 14
    On 30 June 2015, with Wang Fan, Fan Huiqiong and Zhang Bo of Xi'an office as legal counsel, Xi'an Hanshow Chemical Engineering Co., Ltd. (stock code: 832829; stock short name: Hanshow Chemical) was listed on National Equities Exchange and Quotations.Hanshow Chemical provides services of engineering design, management, consultation and engineering project contract in fields of basic chemical, petrochemical, coal chemical, fine chemical and energy chemical. With design permit of special equipment and second grade design and EPC qualifications in chemical engineering, petrochemical and pharmaceutical, Hanshow Chemical has developed into a strong engineering company with many patented technology and high-quality employees.
  • Release time: 2017 - 03 - 08
    An employee of a Guangzhou state-owned bank was charged with contract fraud involving over 27 million RMB. Tian Sihao, partner of Guangzhou Office, was the defense attorney and pleaded innocence on his client’s behalf. With rich experiences in criminal defense, Tian Sihao conducted a masterpiece of not guilty defense. The verdict of first trial pronounced the defendant’s innocence after fully adopting his defense opinion. After first trial, counterappeal from the procuratorate, withdrawal of counterappeal, the not guilty verdict took effect and the defendant was acquitted.
  • Release time: 2016 - 10 - 14
    On 29 January 2015, with Wang Yu and Hu Yanqing of Guangzhou office as legal counsel, Donguan Richtek Electronics Technology Co., Ltd (stock code: 831914; stock short name: Richtek Technology) was listed on National Equities Exchange and Quotations (New Three Board).Located at Innovation Center of Songshan Lake hi-tech industrial development zone, Richtek Technology is a hi-tech enterprise specializing in R&D, production and sales of automobile tyre inflater and energy monitoring products.
  • Release time: 2020 - 01 - 07
    Recently, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific released its 2020 ranking of law firms. Guantao was recommended in 11 practice areas, including Banking and finance, Capital markets, Corporate and M&A, Dispute resolution, Investment funds, Private equity, Projects and energy, Real estate and construction, Regional coverage: Zhejiang Province: Hangzhou, Restructuring and insolvency, WTO/International trade.In addition, 21 Guantao partners were recommended respectively:Wei Jiang: Projects and energy; Corporate and M&ALing Xu: Projects and energyLiqiu Lyu: Banking and financeLiguo Cui: Capital markets; Private equityDongying Sun: Capital markets; Corporate and M&ABo Su: Capital markets; Corporate and M&ALeiming Sheng: Dispute resolutionShaosong Sun: Dispute resolutionYang Wang: Investment...
  • Release time: 2016 - 10 - 13
    Thomson Reuters has just released M&A Markets Legal Advisory Review for first three quarters of 2015. Guantao's rankings are as follows:• Published Transaction involving Asia (excluding Japan) (AE31) - ranking 5 (ranking first in China)• Finished Transaction involving Asia (excluding Japan) (AE31) - ranking 4 (ranking first in China)• Published Transaction involving Asia (excluding Japan) (AE30) - ranking 8 (ranking second in China)• Finished Transaction involving Asia (excluding Japan) (AG31) - ranking 5 (ranking first in China)
  • Release time: 2016 - 10 - 14
    In July 2015, Guantao ranked 46 on the top 100 biggest Asia-Pacific law firm released by The Lawyer, a renowned British legal review.
  • Release time: 2016 - 10 - 14
    Guantao's impressive ranking owns to being Chinese legal counsel for reorganisation, spin-off and listing project of Cheung Kong Limited and Hutchison Whampoa Limited. This project ranks first in top 10 published Asian Transactions (excluding Japan). In July 2015, Thomson Reuters released M&A Legal Advisory Review for the first half of 2015. Based on M&A transaction value of Asian-Pacific (excluding Japan), Guantao ranks fifth overall and first in domestic law firms.
  • Release time: 2016 - 10 - 14
    On May 5th, 2015, Listed Company M&A and Reorganization Forum, co-sponsored by the Listed Company Association of Zhejiang and Hangzhou Daily in Hangzhou, releasedwhite paper of Hangzhou Listed Company M&A 2014, which ranks intermediaries involved in M&A as following:• China Enterprise Appraisals Consultation Co., Ltd. ranks first in asset evaluation agencies• Guantao ranks first in law firms• Pan-China Certified Public Accountants ranks first in accounting firms• Goldman Sachs ranks first in buyer’s financial counselThe white paper also analyzes classic M&A cases and praises Guantao's change of actual controller of Hundsun Technologies Inc. case as an excellent capital market case.
  • Release time: 2017 - 03 - 06
    On February 22 and 24, XMU-Guantao International Law Forum kicks off. It was organized by Xiamen Office and Institute of International Economic Law of Xiamen University.On the noon of February 22, first luncheon meeting was held in Youran Cafeteria.Zhang Binxin, assistant professor of XMU, introduced her research in Judge Parr’s objection in Tokyo Trial. Over ten professors and lecturers specializing in international law took part in the luncheon meeting and had a heated yet friendly discussion.On the afternoon of February 24, the first seminar of XMU-Guantao International Law Forum. Professor Xu Chongli, deputy chairman of Chinese Society of International Economic Law lectured on constructivism analysis of international law.In this seminar, a young lecturer first introduced his or her the...
  • Release time: 2017 - 03 - 06
    On 14 February 2017, Xiamen Office signed strategic cooperation agreement with Institute of International Economic Law of Xiamen University. Eminent professors, including Song Fangqing, dean of law school of XMU, and Guantao lawyers, including Li Yansheng, executive partner of Xiamen Office, attended the signing ceremony.Both parties recognized the opportunities and challenges for economic law scholars and lawyers posed by China’s rise. They fully appreciated the benefit of long-term close cooperation for each other’s development, especially in the background of The Belt and Road Initiative and Go Global strategy. For this purpose, they decided to start strategic cooperation and set up XMU-Guantao International Law Forum.XMU-Guantao International Law Forum focuses on, among other things, i...
  • Release time: 2017 - 03 - 06
    On 13 January 2017, over 200 lawyers and honored guests from all over the country gathered in Westin Hotel to join the 2017 annual celebration, with “New Office, New Page, New Leap, Elite Show” as the theme.The celebration party was orchestrated by executive committee and administrative staff of Beijing Office. After walking the red carpet in gorgeous dress, the attendees listened chorus, watched stage play, cheongsam show and modern dance, which all shows the vivacity, creativeness and charm of Guantao employees, and enjoyed three rounds of game.After that, Cui Liguo, Sheng Leiming, Han Dejing and Wang Yang gave their new year addresses and greetings. Senior staff was also awarded for their long years of dedicated service. The lottery drawing was certainly the most thrilling part. Everyon...
  • Release time: 2016 - 11 - 29
    Challenge to the Existing Law from the Frequent Hostile M&AOn the morning of 8 August 2016, Guantao invited Professor Zhu Ciyun, director of the Civil Law Research Center at Tsinghua University, to give a lecture "Challenge to the Existing Law from the Frequent Hostile M&A". Professor Zhu classified and analyzed with 27 typical cases of hostile takeover and anti-takeover by listed companies applying Chinese laws, then discussed these issues with the example of Kingkey Group vs. Kanter, at last made a self-criticism from the perspective of Corporation Law, Securities Law and others in the context of the Chinese laws.Brief Introduction of India's Investment EnvironmentOn the afternoon of 12 August 2016, Guantao invited Mr. Dipen Rughani, chief chairman of India Commerce...
  • Release time: 2016 - 11 - 29
    On 2 August 2016, the merger ceremony of Guantao Law Firm and Shenda Partners was held at Hongkou District People’s Government of Shanghai. Government officials from Hongkou District People's Government, Shanghai Bureau of Justice and Shanghai Bar Association, along with other celebrities, attended this ceremony.With over 400 lawyers, more than 100 partners and 14 offices in main cities at home and abroad including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Chengdu, HK and Sidney, Guantao Law Firm is a prestigious law firm renowned for its performance in capital markets, corporate and M&A, insolvency & restructuring, real estate, energy & resources, banking and finance as well as international trade. It has excellent performance in the rankings of ALB, China Business Law Journ...
  • Release time: 2017 - 03 - 06
    Sponsored by Guantao Law Firm in 2016, Guantao lawyers actively participated in donating for charities to Guantao Ganlin Class. 50 students of Dali Weishan No.1 Middle School joined Guantao family. The students' thirst for knowledge, enthusiasm for learning and wish for changing destiny deeply impressed us.When the new year begins, Guantao proposed an initiative again. In order to prepare a significant gift for Guantao Ganlin students, Guantao lawyers decided to donate a book corner, so that the children could know a wider world.Liu, teacher of Weishan No.1 Middle School, expressed appreciation for Guantao when receiving the books. Liu said: “Students like the books. They need spiritual wealth. These books are the best new year gifts for them. Reading will benefit the children in the w...
  • Release time: 2016 - 11 - 29
    To celebrate the Party's birthday, Party Branch of the Guantao Xi'an Office set up a series of bono activities. On 25 June, lawyer Li Wenhui, secretary of the Party Branch of Guantao Xi'an Office, senior partner Sun Dongfeng, young lawyers and staffs of administrative departments arrived at Shaanxi Aiding Center for Children of Incarcerated Parents and presented the children with food such as rice, flour, edible oil, milk, oatmeal, beans etc. and cash.This center, founded in 1996, works as a non-profit charity organization for the minor children of incarcerated parents. It has helped more than 600 minor children of prisoners get through their most difficult days, find jobs and earn their own livings. Guantao Xi'an Office will carry out "Legal Classroom" at the cen...
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  • Release time: 2016 - 06 - 11
    One of its core practice areas, it has advised issuers and underwriters for the listings of companies in almost all industries, such as power and steel industries, finance and financial services, construction and building materials, commercial real estate, chemical and mechanical engineering, pharmaceuticals, bio-engineering, non-ferrous metals, transportation, energy, environmental protection, food, tourism, and high-tech industries. Guantao also has extensive experience regarding overseas securities regulations, issuance and trading.• issuance and listing of Class A, B and H shares• direct or indirect overseas listing of domestic enterprises• corporate restructuring in preparation for public offerings• rights offering and offering of additional shares• share repurchase / buyback, spin-of...
  • Release time: 2016 - 06 - 11
    Corporate / M&A is another of Guantao's core practice areas. Guantao's services in this area include but are not limited to:• formation of various types of companies• corporate governance• setting up optimal legal and capital structures• stock ownership restructuring and share transfer• public and private mergers and acquisitions• franchise and chain store operations• general legal counsel for all enterprises• legal counsel for publicly traded companies, securities companies, fund management companies, futures companies, insurance companies, asset management companies, and investment companies• liquidation, insolvency and reorganization "We feel great gratitude for Guantao's professionalism and efficiency demonstrated in our acquisition project. "Have great v...
  • Release time: 2016 - 06 - 11
    Guantao provides high-quality legal services to banking and non-bank financial institutions, including central bank and commercial banks, policy banks, cooperative banks, joint stock banks, foreign-invested banks, trust investment companies, asset management companies, securities companies, insurance companies, fund management companies, futures companies, guaranty companies, leasing companies and other financial institutions. Guantao’s services in this area include but are not limited to: • equity participation in Chinese banks by foreign banks• formation of banking and non-bank financial institutions• Sino-foreign finance cooperation projects• foreign financial institutions access to the PRC market• risk management, liquidation and exit strategies for financial institutions• export credi...
  • Release time: 2016 - 06 - 11
    Guantao is one of the earliest law firms that established real estate department, could provide full and whole industry legal services to all kinds of clients, including government agencies, development enterprises, construction groups, financial institutions, real estate REITs, etc. Legal services of Guantao team not only contain traditional real estate development projects, such as land development (land first-level development, land use right transfer and land comprehensive development), M&A and restructuring of real estate projects, construction projects management (contracting and subcontracting, design and performance of construction contracts, final acceptance of construction projects, settlement of construction payment, etc.), sale and leasing of commercial properties, property...
  • Release time: 2016 - 06 - 11
    Guantao attorneys have extensive experience in litigation, arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Guantao has successfully represented many leading corporations of different industries and government departments in both domestic and international litigation and arbitration proceedings, and have gained a nationwide reputation. Guantao represents clients both domestically and internationally in litigation and arbitration matters, in areas including but not limited to: • investment disputes• equity disputes• criminal prosecution• commercial and financial fraud• all types of IP and software infringement• general torts• international trade• real estate transactions• economic crime• anti-commercial bribery "Based in Beijing, the partners at Guantao are greatly resp...
  • Release time: 2016 - 06 - 11
    Guantao is a pioneer law firm in the PRC engaged in corporate liquidation or insolvency liquidation, advising over 30 companies including non-bank financial institutions in dissolution liquidation, insolvency liquidation and insolvency reorganization. With experienced lawyers, Guantao's team has undertaken a wide variety of legal tasks such as group leader of the liquidation group, leader of insolvency administrators, and counsel for taking-over group, trustee group, and insolvency administrators. Therefore, Guantao has accumulated a wealth of valuable knowledge and practical experience in this area.Guantao's experience in this area includes the followings without limitation:• acting as member of liquidation group of corporations• acting as insolvency liquidation administrator• est...
  • Release time: 2017 - 08 - 03
    Guantao's legal services in the field of infrastructure and projects including but not limited to:  • representing and advising clients in the approval stage of infrastructure investment projects such as power, oil, gas, new energy, and environment protection in respect of the project examination and approval, verification and approval, filing or other mandatory or referenced prepositional procedures• advising on the land use rights, sea areas use rights, construction planning, building property rights and other relevant legal matters involved in infrastructure and construction projects• providing legal services for various PPP projects (including BOT, BOOT, BOO, etc.)• providing legal services for various contracts of construction project (including EPC, EPCM, PMC, etc.)• advisin...
  • Release time: 2017 - 02 - 05
    Intellectual property has been a long-time core practice and research area for Guantao, and it has successfully represented clients on a number of cases in matters including patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, proprietary technology, integrated circuit, computer software, database protection, new plant type, the design and implementation of protection programs for the copy right / trade mark / franchise right, etc.Also, Guantao has extensive experience in the field of telecommunication and media, and provides legal services for companies' M&A, general telecommunication services, value-added telecommunication services, internet services, etc.Guantao's services include but are not limited to:• information search• application and registration of IP rights (including comput...
  • Release time: 2016 - 11 - 26
    Guantao is one of the very few Chinese law firms with substantial experiences in representing both domestic and foreign clients in merger clearance, antitrust litigation, government investigations, compliance program and counseling projects.Our antitrust lawyers have extensive and in-depth cooperation with international law firms and economic experts in order to provide our clients with high quality legal support to meet their needs in various antitrust matters.Meanwhile, the consistent communications between Guantao lawyers and the Chinese antitrust authorities, including the Ministry of Commerce (“MOFCOM”), the National Development and Reform Commission (“NDRC”) and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (“SAIC”), have also enabled Guantao lawyers to serve the clients with th...
  • Release time: 2016 - 06 - 11
    Guantao has rich knowledge and experience in international commerce, with outstanding legal team. Guantao has provided legal services on remedy in international commerce for many large-scale enterprises, corporations and government agencies. Guantao has rich experience in anti-dumping investigation, anti-subsidy, safeguard measure, trade remedy, WTO rules on goods, service, investment and IP, as well as WTO dispute settlement procedure, custom’s classification, valuation and appellations of origin. Based on these, with a thorough understanding of Chinese substantive and procedural law, we are able to provide comprehensive high-quality legal service on for anti-dumping investigation, anti-subsidy investigation and safeguard measure of our clients. Meanwhile, Guantao has served as legal coun...
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Contact us / Expert team more
  • Beijing Head Office
  • Chengdu Office
  • Dalian Office
  • Guangzhou Office
  • Hangzhou Office
  • Hong Kong Office
  • Ji'nan Office
  • Shanghai Office
  • Shenzhen Office
  • Suzhou Office
  • Sydney Office
  • Tianjin Office
  • Xiamen Office
  • Xi'an Office
  • Wuhan Office
  • Nanjing Office
  • Toronto Office
  • Updated: 2015 - 01 - 22

    Beijing Head Office

     

    Add: 18/F, Tower B, Xinsheng Plaza, 5 Finance Street, Xicheng

    District, Beijing 100032, PRC

    Tel: (86-10) 6657 8066

    Fax: (86-10) 6657 8016

    Email: guantao@guantao.com

     


    Beijing Head Office

    Located in the heart of Beijing's financial district, our head office was established in 1994 and has become a leading law firm in China. With more than 40 partners and 120 lawyers, Beijing Office serves as the gateway to our extensive PRC network of unparalleled expertise and long-standing client relationship. The head office has the experience spanning a broad range of sectors, including banking, securities, insurance, large-scale infrastructure projects, real estate, manufacturing, transportation, energy and natural resources, environmental protection, research and development, chemical, pharmaceutical and service industry. We provide a full range of legal services including:

    • International trade and foreign direct investments;

    • Mergers, acquisitions and dispositions;

    • Venture capital and private equity transactions;

    • Capital markets and corporate finance (public and private);

    • Joint ventures and cooperation agreements;

    • Debt restructurings and insolvencies;

    • Corporate reorganizations and commercial contracts;

    • Administrative compliance and corporate governance;

    • Intellectual property and new- and high-tech;

    • Bidding and tendering;

    • Commercial litigation and arbitration.

    With legal expertise in virtually every area of law, Guantao has the scope and flexibility to meet the demands of today's most sophisticated clients. Our domestic and international clients rely on Guantao to provide strategic, innovative advice on the most complex corporate transactions, significant banking and securities developments, intricate financing issues and high profile litigation matters. Equipped with solid legal theory and skills, our superior team of lawyers and legal experts are diligent and trustworthy, with proven track record of excellent performance. This ensures our clients receive the most reliable and comprehensive legal advice in the rapid changing economy in China and around the world.

     

  • Updated: 2016 - 06 - 11

    成都.jpg

     

    Add: Room 702, 7/F, Western Tower, 19, 4th Section, Renminnan

    Avenue, Chengdu 610041, PRC

    Tel: (86-28) 6829 9886

    Fax: (86-28) 6829 9899

    Email: guantaocd@guantao.com

     

     

    Chengdu Office

    Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province, is at the forefront and key region in China's western region development strategy. As the hub for finance, commerce, transportation as well as science and technology, Chengdu has become the hotspot for international investment. Located in the central business district of Chengdu, Chengdu Office was established in 2001 with 3 partners and over 30 associates and paralegals.

    International investment is a core practice area for our Sichuan office, attributing to rapid economic growth in the western region of China. The Sichuan office's other core practice areas include acquisition of domestic equity / assets by overseas enterprises, setting up joint ventures or wholly-owned foreign enterprises or branch operation in China on behalf of foreign entities; Additionally, Sichuan Office has accumulated extensive experience in fields including real estate, securities, corporate asset restructuring, and administrative laws.

  • Updated: 2016 - 11 - 24

    大连.jpg

     

    Add: Room 1109, 11/F, Renshou Tower, Renmin Road,

    Zhongshan District, Dalian 116001, PRC

    Tel: (86-411) 8282 9601

    Fax: (86-411) 8282 9901

    Email: guantaodl@guantao.com

     

     

     

    Dalian Office

    Guantao Dalian Office was established in April 2002 with 3 partners and 15 associates and paralegals.

    It is pleased to make Guantao's broad legal expertise available to northeast China from Dalian, a dynamic and vibrant port and high-tech city serving as a gateway to Korea and Japan. Dalian Office offers the extensive resources of a large firm with legal services ranging from securities, banking, reorganization and listing, real estate, to commercial litigation and arbitration.

    Increasingly, Dalian Office is working with clients in new sectors of Dalian's rich and diverse economy. As with all Guantao offices we work as a cohesive PRC legal team to deliver integrated service of the highest caliber in areas of compliance, M&A and restructuring, equity incentives, issuance of stocks and bonds, litigation and arbitration to our domestic and overseas clients.

  • Updated: 2016 - 06 - 11

    Guangzhou Office

     

    Add: Suites 1703-04, R&F Yingxin Tower, 28 Huaxia Road,

    Zhujiang New Town, Tianhe District, Guangzhou 510623, PRC

    Tel: (86-20) 38398787

    Fax: (86-20) 38398331

    Email: guantaogz@guantao.com

     

     

     

    Guangzhou Office

    Guantao Guangzhou Office was established in December 2012. It is staffed by an excellent team of 3 partners and over 50 associates and paralegals, who are recognized leaders in their fields of expertise.

    Guangzhou is the capital and largest city of Guangdong province, People's Republic of China. Located on the Pearl River, about 120 km (75 mi) north-northwest of Hong Kong and north-northeast of Macau, Guangzhou is the third largest Chinese city and southern China's largest city. Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port. One of the five National Central Cities, it holds sub-provincial administrative status.

    We can offer efficient and high-quality legal services especially in areas of banking & finance, capital markets, corporate / M&A, private equity and funds, state-owned enterprise reform and property right transfer, non-performing asset, foreign direct investment, intellectual property, real estate & construction and litigation & arbitration. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, our Guangzhou team has achieved high level of success and built a good reputation.

  • Updated: 2016 - 06 - 11

    杭州.jpg

     

    Add: Room 1803, South Tower, Anno Domini Mansion, 8 Qiushi

    Road, Xihu District, Hangzhou 310013, PRC

    Tel: (86-571) 89939691

    Fax: (86-571) 89939620

    Email: guantaohz@guantao.com

     

     

     

    Hangzhou Office

    Guantao Hangzhou Office was established in January 2014. It's staffed by 8 partners and over 20 associates and paralegals.

    Hangzhou, the capital and most populous city of Zhejiang Province in east China, is the sub-center city of Yangtze River Delta.

    Hangzhou Office provides all-around and high-quality legal services in areas of cross-border investment and trade, corporate securities, intellectual property, dispute resolution, family wealth management, infrastructure and real estate.

  • Updated: 2016 - 06 - 11

    Hong Kong Office

     

    Add:Suites 1801-3, 18th Floor, One Taikoo Place,

    Quarry Bay, 979 King’s Road, Hong Kong

    Tel: (852) 2878 1130

    Fax: (852) 2878 1360

    Email: guantaohk@guantao.com

     

     

     

    Hong Kong Office

    Guantao Hong Kong Office, established in December 2008,  After the three-year association with Peter C. Wong, Chow & Chow and approved by the Law Society of Hong Kong, our Hong Kong Office was localized as a Hong Kong solicitor firm with effect from 1 February 2016 under the name of Guantao & Chow, providing clients with the laws of Hong Kong and mainland China.

    After the localization, Guantao & Chow currently has four partners Ms. Grace Pengpeng Yan, Ms. Clara C.Y. Ngo, Mr. George K.H. Lee, Mr. Albert G.M. Lam and four consultants Mr. Anthony W.K. Chow, Ms. Anna S.H. Chow, Mr. Jackson K.B. Woo and Mr. Lam Sek Kong. Mr. Chow, founding partner of PCWCC, chairman of the Hong Kong Jockey Club and former chairman of The Law Society of Hong Kong, serves as Guantao global chairman and Ms. Yan as the managing partner of Guantao & Chow.

    Our practice covers corporate & financing, mergers & acquisitions, capital markets, FDI, intellectual property, litigation & arbitration, sale and purchase of house, company secretary service, China-appointed attesting officer and notary public with special focus on cross-border transactions.

    We have an alliance with Ashurst Hong Kong, which is affiliated with Ashurst LLP, a leading international law firm with 25 offices in 15 countries. By working closely with Ashurst, we serve our clients on a global basis.


  • Updated: 2016 - 06 - 11

    Ji'nan Office

     

    Add: 9/F, Zhongyin Plaza, 26 Luoyuan Avenue, Lixia District, Jinan

    250011, PRC

    Tel: (86-531) 6788 5166

    Fax: (86-531) 6788 7166

    Email: guantaojn@guantao.com

     

     

     

    Ji'nan Office

    Guantao Jinan Office was established in March 2007 with one partner and a strong team of 20 associates and paralegals, who have the depth, experience and resources to provide timely strategic legal services for all types of business transactions and disputes in Shandong Province, an economic powerhouse on China's east coast.

    Jinan Office provides a full range of legal services, including acquisition and disposition of corporate assets, corporate restructuring and liquidation, venture capital investment, large-scale land development, municipal planning and construction, as well as corporate general legal counsel and other non-litigation legal services. We are also known for our highly specialized expertise in taking on high profile litigation cases.

  • Updated: 2016 - 06 - 11

    Shanghai Office

     

    Add: 9/22/25/F, Shartex Plaza, 88 Zunyi South Road, Changning District, 

    Shanghai 200336, PRC

    Tel: 021-23563298

    Fax: 021-23563299

    Email: guantaosh@guantao.com

     

     

     

    Shanghai Office

    Guantao Shanghai Office, honored as 'China Law Firm of the Year', was established in March 2001. After merging with Shanghai Zhongmao Law Firm and Shenda Partners in 2016, now it is staffed by an excellent team of 57 partners and consultants along with over 150 associates and paralegals, who are recognized leaders respectively.

    Advantage practice areas of Shanghai Office include infrastructure & real estate, mergers & acquisitions, private equity & venture capital, foreign investment, banking & finance, bankruptcy & liquidation, delimitation of property rights, issuance of stocks and bonds, intellectual property, bidding & tendering. It also has outstanding performance on commercial litigation and arbitration, and criminal defense.

    Shanghai Office provides full legal services for numerous major projects, such as Expo 2010 Shanghai China, Shanghai Tower, Shanghai Disney Resort, Shanghai Middle Ring Road Project, Hongqiao Transportation Hub, National Exhibition and Convention Center and Xuhui Binjiang Area Development. Shanghai Office also acts as legal counsel for a number of government agencies, enterprises and institutions, such as China Eastern, Jinmao Group, Shimao Group, Bank of China, Bank of Communications, SPD Bank, Minsheng Bank, BEA, State Grid East China Grid Company, Shanghai Film Co., Ltd., Lujiazui Co., Ltd., Shanghai Municipal Investment, INESA, Shanghai Rainbow Group, Shanghai Shendi Group, ROCKBUND, Mitsubishi Electric etc.

    Shanghai is the largest and most economically developed city in China. Shanghai Office is committed to providing comprehensive and high-quality legal services to clients in all industries.

  • Updated: 2016 - 06 - 11

    Shenzhen Office

     

    Add: AF, 30/Floor, Noble Centre, 1006 3rd Fuzhong Road,

    Futian District, Shenzhen 518026, PRC

    Tel: (86-755) 2598 0899

    Fax: (86-755) 2598 0259

    Email: guantaosz@guantao.com

     

     

     

    Shenzhen Office

    Regarded as one of the fastest growing cities in the world, Shenzhen is home to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange as well as the headquarters of numerous high-tech companies. Situated immediately north of Hong Kong. Shenzhen has become the most dynamic and vibrant city in China as a new center for finance, information, shipping, and international investment. Our Shenzhen Office was established in November 2003 based on Shenzhen's unique geo-economic position with Huang Yaping and Wang Xuexia as its partners.

    Located in Shenzhen's financial district, Shenzhen Office covers a broad client base in southern China with efficient and high-quality legal services. Practice areas and industry experience include corporate / commercial, securities, bankruptcy and insolvency, international trade and investment, and real estate development.

  • Updated: 2016 - 06 - 11

    Suzhou Office

     

    Add: Room 2704-2706, Yuanrong Xingzuo Tower A, 269

    Wangdun Road, Suzhou Industrial Park, PRC

    Tel: (86-512) 6591 1800

    Fax: (86-512) 6591 9057

    Email: guantaosuzhou@guantao.com

     

     

     

    Suzhou Office

    Guantao Suzhou Office, located in Harmony City in the CBD of Suzhou next to Jinji Lake, possesses 5 partners among almost 40 associates and supporting staff. Core team members have more than ten years of practice experience in Suzhou.

    Suzhou Office focuses on core business areas of real estate & construction, corporate perennial legal services and capital markets, acting as legal counsel to more than 500 enterprises, representing thousands of litigation and arbitration cases and earning a good reputation from the clients. To guarantee the efficient and high-quality services, Suzhou Office has set up different departments, including Labor Department, Corporate Department, Foreign Affairs Department (working languages: Chinese Mandarin, English and German), Litigation Department, Securities Department and Real Estate Department. To meet client requirements, Guantao teams composed of professional lawyers safeguard the clients against legal risks in a comprehensive manner. With regards to important and complicated legal affairs that involve multi-departments, relevant departments and other Guantao offices will work together in order to ensure the service efficiency and quality.

    Guantao Law Firm's Annual Legal Counsel Service Center is based in Suzhou Office as the back-end processing center for Guantao's annual legal counsel services across the country to centralize and take care of matters for perennial clients such as contract review and emails reply.



  • Updated: 2016 - 06 - 11

    Sydney Office

     

    Add: Suite 6, Level 7, 66 Hunter Street, Sydney NSW 2000

    Tel: +(612) 9002 0999

    Fax: +(612) 9283 3567

    Email: sydney@guantao.com

     

     

     

    Sydney Office

    Guantao Sydney Office was officially established on 18 May 2015.

    Sydney Office will develop the Australian investment market based on offering service for Chinese clients, keep the alliance partnership with world's top law firm Ashurst and provide the most humanized and commercialized investment solutions for clients.

    The focus of Sydney Office legal services includes, in particular, the following issues:

    • To assist M&A of Chinese enterprises in Australia

    • To assist financing of Chinese enterprises on ASX

    • To support funds and investment projects of Chinese funds, PE, VC in Australia

    • To support Australian investment in China

    The expertise of Sydney Office extends to the following practice areas:

    • Agriculture

    • Real Estate & Construction

    • Mining, Energy & Natural Resources

    • Project & Infrastructure

    • High and New Technology

    • Funds, Bonds, Securities and Financing

  • Updated: 2016 - 06 - 11

    Tianjin Office

     

    Add: Room 609-611, 6/F, Vantone Center Tianjin, the 

    intersection of Dagu North Road and Xuzhou Road, Heping

    District, Tianjin 300042, PRC

    Tel: (86-22) 58299677 58299678

    Fax: (86-22) 58299679

    Email: guantaotj@guantao.com

     

     

    Tianjin Office

    Our Tianjin Office was established in April 2009.

    Lying in the center of circum-Bohai region, Tianjin has been recognized as one of the largest industrial centers in Northern China. Now with the construction and opening-up of its Binhai New Area, Tianjin is embracing a new significant historical opportunity of development.

    Our Tianjin office, located in Central Plaza, the landmark building of the city, is staffed by experience lawyers competent to provide efficient and quality legal services to clients in different industries, with emphasis on foreign investment, mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructuring, real estate, and intellectual property.

  • Updated: 2016 - 06 - 11

    厦门.jpg

     

    Add: 23/F, Qixing Tower, 178 Qixing West Road, Siming District, Xiamen 

    361012, PRC

    Tel: (86-592) 5205 899

    Fax: (86-592) 5202 133

    Email: guantaoxm@guantao.com

     

     

     

    Xiamen Office

    Guantao Xiamen Office set up since March 2008. In September 2015, the elite teams of two local law firms, i.e. Fujian Jianchang Law Firm and Fujian Dadao Law Firm wholly joined Guantao Xiamen Office. Currently, Xiamen Office have 8 partners, i.e. Mr. Zheng Shuiyuan, Mr. Guo Xiaodong, Dr. Chen Zerong, Mr. Li Yansheng, Dr. An Shouzhi, Mr. Zhu Yue, Mr. Chen Yu, Mr. Zhang Shengli, and over 60 associates, trainee and supporting staffs.

    Xiamen locates across the strait from Taiwan, the dynamic markets of Xiamen and Fujian Province together with Xiamen's strategic geo-economic location, as the Special Economic Zone, national comprehensive matched reform experiment zone, Fujian Pilot Free Trade Zone, Xiamen currently become the Model Area of Cross strait cooperation in new industries and modern service industry, shipping center of South-eastern China, Finance Service Center of Cross Strait, Trade Center of Cross Strait. Guantao Xiamen Office focuses on to provide with the excellent, comprehensive and effective legal service and legal resolution for clients.

    Guantao Xiamen Office offers a variety of legal services in the fieldsof cooperate, banking, IPO, M&A, PE and Finance, real estate projects, bankruptcy, shipping and maritime, international trade, sports and projects, litigation and arbitration. We are also dedicated to providing legal services of high quality in the fields of criminal and IP rights.

  • Updated: 2016 - 06 - 11

    西安.jpg

     

    Add: Room 713, Shang Center, 51 Gaoxin Road, Xi'an 710075,

    PRC

    Tel: (86-29) 8842 2608

    Fax: (86-29) 8842 0929

    Email: guantaoxa@guantao.com

     

     

     

    Xi'an Office

    Our Xi'an Office was established in July 2001 with four partners namely Jia Jianwei, Tian Xiangqun, Kang Hongyun and Wang Fan. Situated in the historic but modern metropolis of Xi'an, our Xi'an Office is best known for its strength in advising corporate clients on securities and investment projects. The expertise of our Xi'an Office professionals extends to corporate reorganization, asset restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, stocks offering and listing, bankruptcy and insolvency, and real estate development. Additionally, Xi'an Office is well known for success in the traditional field of commercial litigations and arbitrations.

    To promote the public welfare, our Xi'an Office has set up a blog, through which our legal professionals provide pro bono services to the public.

  • Updated: 2017 - 09 - 29

    Wuhan Office

     

    Add: Room 3617-3621, CRCC 1818 Center Tower, 23 Middle 

    North Road, Wuchang District, Wuhan 430061, PRC

    Tel: (86-27) 8789 8080

    Fax: (86-27) 8789 8180

    Email: guantaowh@guantao.com

     

     


    Wuhan Office

    Founded on the basis of Hubei Dongzifeng Law Firm on 18 June 2017, Wuhan office of Guantao has three partners (Nie Zhengwen, Liu Hanguo and Dong Li), 15 lawyers and administrative staff, all of whom has practiced law in Wuhan for many years.

    Wuhan is the capital city of Hubei province, the only sub-provincial-level city of central region and a major industrial, scientific and traffic hub. Wuhan Optics Valley boasts two trophy cups: free trade pilot zone and national innovation model zone. Blessed with superb location, Wuhan office is devoted to provide quality legal services for clients.

    Covering construction, real estate, M&A, banking, finance, litigation and arbitration, Wuhan office’s main clients includes car manufacturers, construction companies, real estate companies, commercial banks and AMC. In the foregoing industries, these battle-hardened lawyers all have extensive experiences, skill and connections.


     


  • Updated: 2018 - 07 - 04

    Nanjing Office


    Add: 10/F Xinlihua Center, 151 Taishan Road, Jianye District, Nanjing, PRC

    Tel: (86-25) 5779 3566






    Nanjing Office

    Guantao Nanjing Office, based on the reorganization of JiangSu SuYuan Law Firm which was founded in June 1993, possesses 12 partners, 34 associates and 15 paralegals, covering an area of 2000 square meters in 3 stories.

    Guantao Nanjing Office was recognized as Excellent Law Firm by Jiangsu Provincial Department of Justice and Jiangsu Lawyers Association for many years, honored as Provincial Civilized Unit by Jiangsu Provincial People’s Government for 3 times and awarded twice as Second-Class Collective Merit.

    Successively, numerous lawyers of Guantao Nanjing Office act as chairman, deputy chairman and director of Jiangsu Lawyers Association, director, vice-director and member of specialized committee in Jiangsu Lawyers Association, WTO legal service counsel in Jiangsu, arbitrator of arbitration commission in Jiangsu and Anhui, etc.

    Guantao Nanjing Office insists on specialization and teamwork, consisting of specialized departments, including Corporate Department, Finance & Securities Department, Infrastructure Department, Construction & Real Estate Department, Intellectual Property Department, International Business Department, Shipping and Maritime Department, Marriage and Family Affairs Department, Criminal Defense Department, Litigation & Arbitration Department, Legal Research Office, Adminsitrative Management Department and Business Development Department.

    Guantao Nanjing Office will work together with Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou and other offices, providing domestic and overseas clients with high-quality and efficient legal services in the fields of litigation and arbitration, corporate restructuring and insolvency, capital operation, real estate and construction, finance, insurance, intellectual property, shipping and maritime, etc.

     


  • Updated: 2019 - 01 - 04

    Toronto Office


    Add:100 King Street West, Suite 5600, Toronto, ON M5X 1C9 Canada

     Email:toronto@guantao.com

     Tel: +1 (416) 847-1868

     Fax: +1 (866) 288 -1166




    Toronto Office

    Serving as the window office targeting in North America market, Guantao Toronto Office is based in Canada and also works closely with other 17 domestic and overseas offices in a shared manner in terms of investment opportunities, resources, clients and legal talents. We are bringing legal talents together and making joint efforts to the promote business communication and investment that flow between China and Canada.

    Since establishment, Toronto Office has maintained a close cooperative relationship with such numerous top international law firms as BLG (Borden Ladner Gervais), Gowling WLG, Stikeman Elliott LLP, Cox & Palmer and Minden Gross LLP. Our work has been acknowledged round the world and we keep offering clients with tailored legal advice and customized business solutions.

     

    Guantao Toronto Office provides a full range of legal services, including but are not limited to the following core practice areas:

    To assist domestic businesses:

    • To assist M&A of Chinese enterprises in Canada;

    • To assist financing of Chinese enterprises on CSE;

    • To support funds and investment projects of Chinese funds, PE, VC in Canada;

    • To provide review of overseas loan;

    • To assist HNWI on their investment, property and trust businesses in Canada.

     

    To develop Canadian businesses:

    • Investment and trading cooperation in Atlantic Provinces, covering industries of mining, energy and natural resources, infrastructure;

    • Funds, bonds, securities and financing;

    • High technology and blockchain;

    • Legal advisor to Chinese enterprises;

    • Immigration, real estate and marriage ;

    • Commercial litigation;

    • International trade;


  • Release time: 2016 - 11 - 25
    Our WishGuantao Law Firm, headquartered in Beijing, is a one of the pioneer law firms with a reputation for high performance and extensive experience in China. To build a platform with global strategy and core competitiveness, which could create value for the clients and be recognized by the clients, is our wish.Our AttitudeWorking with Guantao colleagues and partners could be professionally rewarding and personally fulfilling. We shall insist on entrepreneurial culture, provide diverse education mechanism and you will get access to robust training along with professional development opportunities. Join us and launch your career with Guantao!
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INSIGHTS News

Foreign Investment Controls in Europe: France

Time: 2020-05-12
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Foreign Investment Controls in Europe: France


Introduction

The European Union ('EU') has one of the world's most open investment regimes. Nevertheless, there have been growing concerns in recent years about the impact of certain foreign investments on security and public order. A key issue has been the increasing level of Chinese foreign investment that takes place in the technology sector, with prominent examples in Europe including the takeover of the German robotics manufacturer Kuka by Midea and the attempted takeover of the chip equipment manufacturer Aixtron by Fujian Grand Chip Investment Fund.

Partly as a result of such acquisitions, member states of the European Union (the 'Member States') and EU decision-makers have become increasingly concerned about European know-how and consumer data being transferred to China and related security issues. In early 2017, Germany, France and Italy proposed in a letter to the EU Trade Commissioner that the Member States should be able to block investments from non-EU countries. At the same time, several Member States, including Germany and Italy, tightened or considered tightening their national investment control regimes. As of April 2020, 14 Member States[1] have national screening mechanisms in place aimed at preserving security and public order at national level. In November 2018, a political agreement was reached by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on an EU framework for screening foreign direct investment into the European Union and in March 2019 a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for the screening of foreign direct investments into EU was adopted. In March 2020, as part of the overall response to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Commission issued guidance to the Member States concerning foreign direct investment and the protection of EU's strategic assets, in particular in healthcare-related industries.

Against this background, Ashurst Guantao (FTZ) Joint Operation Office seeks to give general insights into the foreign investment control regimes in the European Union and in the major European jurisdictions, including Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Please feel free to contact any of your Ashurst contacts in case of any questions.

The Ashurst Team


France

As a principle, foreign investments in France are free and generally only trigger statistical declarations to be made to the Banque de France following completion of the transaction. However, a prior authorisation by the French Minister in charge of the economy (the 'Minister of Economy') must be sought for investments in certain sensitive or 'strategic' business sectors.

In this respect, during the past few years the legal framework applicable to foreign investments in France has been amended several times. In 2003, the French government issued a decree and an order that established the conditions for foreign investments in France. Further amendments in 2005, 2012, 2014, 2017 and 2019 redefined and extended the list of 'strategic' business sectors in which foreign investments would need prior approval by the Minister of Economy, and set out other amendments to the foreign investment control regime. Following the adoption of the EU Screening Regulation, the French legal framework applicable to foreign investments has been amended by the law No. 2019-486 of 22 May 2019 relating to the growth and transformation of businesses (the 'PACTE Law'), and recently by the decree No. 2019-1590 of 31 December 2019 relating to foreign investments in France (the '2019 Decree') and the Ministerial Order of 31 December 2019 relating to foreign investments in France (the '2019 Order'). The new legal framework arising from the 2019 Decree and the 2019 Order are applicable to requests and declarations which will be filed with the Minister of Economy as from 1 April 2020.

Save for the 2019 Order, all the provisions pertaining to foreign investments in France are codified in the French Monetary and Financial Code (the 'MFC').

 

What are the key laws and regulations governing restrictions and controls of foreign investments?

The control of foreign investments is governed by the provisions of the MFC and the 2019 Order.


How is a foreign investor defined?

A foreign investor is defined in the MFC as (i) any individual who is a foreign national, (ii) a French citizen who is not tax domiciled in France, (iii) a foreign-based entity (entité de droit étranger), or (iv) a French-based entity (entité de droit français) which is under the control of a person or entity referred to in (i), (ii) or (iii).

The control under (iv) is analysed in light of the provisions of Article L. 233-3 of the French Commercial Code or, absent any control based on those provisions, the provisions of Article L. 430-1.III of said Code.

In addition, all the persons and entities of the same control chain are deemed investors, a control chain being defined as the group formed by an investor mentioned in (iii) and (iv) and the persons and entities which control him.

Which transactions are scrutinised and which sectors are affected?

Transactions

The following transactions fall within the scope of the French foreign investments control regime:

(i)  The acquisition of control (within the meaning of Article L. 233-3 of the French Commercial Code) over a French-based entity;

(ii)  The acquisition of all or part of a line of business (branche d'activité) of a French-based entity; and

(iii)  An operation which results in the acquisition, whether direct or indirect, alone or in cooperation, of more than 25 per cent of the voting rights of a French-based entity.

Condition (iii) is not applicable to (a) an individual who is a national of a Member State or a member state of the EEA having entered into a convention for the administrative cooperation with France in relation to fraud and tax evasion, who is domiciled in one of those states, nor to (b) an entity whose all the members of the control chain are subject to the law of one of those states or have the nationality and are domiciled in one of such states.

Strategic sectors

The Minister of Economy may control foreign investments in any activity in France which, even occasionally, involves the exercise of public authority or pertains either to (i) activities likely to jeopardise public order, public safety or national defence, or (ii) activities in relation to research, production or marketing of weapons, ammunition and powders or other explosive substances. The MFC sets out a list of business sectors that are considered 'strategic'. This list includes:

I. Activities which might jeopardise national defence interests, which are part of the exercise of public authority or which might jeopardise public order and public safety:

1.  Activities including those mentioned in Article L. 2332-1 of the French Defence Code relating to weapons, munitions, powders and explosive substances intended to military purposes or war equipment and similar equipment subject to title III or title V of Chapter III of part two of the French Defence Code;

2.  Activities relating to dual-use items and technologies listed in Annex IV of the Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 of 5 May 2009 setting up a Community regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual-use items;

3.  Activities carried-out by entities entrusted with national defence secret;

4.  Activities carried-out in the sector of information systems security, including as a subcontractor, for the benefit of an operator referred to in Articles L. 1332-1 or L. 1332-2 of the French Defence Code;

5.  Activities carried out by companies having entered into an agreement, either directly or by subcontracting, to the benefit of the Ministry in charge of Defence for the production of goods or services falling within the scope of an activity mentioned in 1 to 3 above or in 6 below;

6.  Activities relating to cryptology resources and services referred to in Articles 30.III, 30.IV and 31.I of the law No. 2004-575 of 21 June 2004 relating to the 'confidence' in digital economy;

7.  Activities relating to equipment or technical devices allowing the interception of correspondence or designed for the remote detection of conversations or capture of computerised data under Article 226-3 of the French Criminal Code;

8.  Activities performed by accredited assessment centres under the terms and conditions set out by the decree No. 2002-535 of 18 April 2002 on the auditing and certification of the security provided by IT products and systems;

9.  Gambling activities (except for casinos);

10. Activities relating to the means intended to address the illicit use of pathogenic or toxic agents or to prevent health impacts of such use;

11. Data processing, transmission or storage activities whose compromise or disclosure might jeopardise the performance of activities referred to in 1 to 10 above of this section I or in the section II below.

II. Activities which might jeopardise national defence interests, which are part of the exercise of public authority or which might jeopardise public order and public safety in the case where they involve core infrastructure, goods or services to ensure the:

1.  Integrity, security and continuity of energy supply;

2.  Integrity, security and continuity of water supply;

3.  Integrity, security and continuity of operation of transportation networks and services;

4.  Integrity, security and continuity of space operations referred to in 3° of Article 1 of the law no. 2008-518 of 3 June 2008 relating to space operations;

5.  Integrity, security and continuity of operation of electronic communication networks and services;

6.  Performance of tasks of the national police, the gendarmerie nationale, the civil protection services and the public security missions of (a) customs and (b) licenced private security companies;

7.  Integrity, security and continuity of operation of any facility, installation or structure of vital importance (ouvrage d'importance vitale) within the meaning of Articles L. 1332-1 and L. 1332-2 of the French Defence Code;

8.  Protection of public health;

9.  Production, transformation and distribution of agricultural products listed in Annex I to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, in the case where they contribute to the objectives of national food security mentioned in 1°, 17° and 19° of Article L. 1.I of the French Rural Code;

10. Publishing, printing or distribution of press providing political and general information, within the meaning of Article 4 of the law No. 47-585 of 2 April 1947 on the status of companies grouping and distributing newspapers and periodicals, and online press services providing political and general information within the meaning of Article 1 of the law No. 86-897 of 1 August 1986 reforming the legal status of the press.

11. Activities which might jeopardise national defence interests, which are part of the exercise of public authority or which might jeopardise public order and public safety in the case where they are intended to be implemented in one of the activities referred to in sections I or II above:

12. R&D activities relating to critical technologies, the list of which is set out by the 2019 Order (i.e., cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, robotics, additive manufacturing, semiconductors, quantum technologies and energy storage);

13. R&D activities relating to dual-use items and technologies listed in Annex I to the EU Council Regulation No 428/2009 dated 5 May 2009.


Who is the decision-maker?

Foreign investments are subject to prior authorisation granted by the Minister of Economy.


Is filing or approval mandatory?

Yes. A foreign investor must mandatorily file an authorisation request if its contemplated investment falls within the scope of the provisions of the MFC, and await for such authorisation to be granted before implementing the contemplated transaction.

In the case where the contemplated investment involves one or several foreign investors of the same control chain, the request may be filed by any member of such control chain on behalf of all the investors who are members of that chain.


What are the assessment criteria?

The Minister of Economy assesses whether the investment affects French national interests. He must deny the authorisation based on a reasoned decision if he is of the view that the conditions that may be imposed will not be sufficient to preserve national interests. In this respect, the Minister of Economy may take into account the fact that the investor has connections with foreign government or public body.

The Minister of Economy may also deny the authorisation based on a reasoned decision if he is of the view that:

•  There are strong reasons to suspect that the investor is likely to commit one of the following criminal offences (among others): drug trafficking, criminal exploitation of a person's weakness or ignorance, pimping (proxénétisme) and related crimes, acts of terrorism or financing of terrorism, corruption and influence peddling; or

•  The investor has been finally sentenced for one of the abovementioned criminal offences or a similar criminal offence under the legislation of another state over the five years prior to the filing of the authorisation request; or

•  The investor has been subject to a sanction based on non-compliance with foreign investment regulations (e.g., investment without prior authorisation, non-fulfilment of the conditions specified in the authorisation).


What does the review process look like?

Prior to making an investment, and in agreement with the entity performing the business activity subject to the contemplated investment, any foreign investor may seek the opinion of the Minister of Economy in order to assess whether all or part of its business activity falls within the scope of foreign investment regulations, in which case the opinion issued by the latter is sent to the entity performing the business activity subject to the contemplated investment. The Minister of Economy shall respond within two months from the request.

The foreign investor must seek approval from the Minister of Economy prior to completion of the transaction. An authorisation request has to be filed with the treasury department of the ministry in charge of economy. The Minister of Economy must be provided with information including (but not limited to) inter alia the identity of the investor (including name and address), its shareholders and corporate bodies, the entity or person ultimately controlling it and a description of the target and the contemplated transaction. The comprehensive list of the information to be provided in the application file is set out in the 2019 Order. Additional information may be requested by the Minister of Economy. The Minister of Economy makes a decision within the time period described in the section 'How long does the review process take' below.

Completion of the authorised transaction must be notified to the Minister of Economy by the foreign investor within two months following such completion. If the foreign investment is subject to a different approval process, for instance where an investment is sought in a regulated sector such as health, energy or aeronautics, the authorities in charge of this latter approval may in practice collaborate with the Minister of Economy to ensure the consistency of the two concomitant processes.

Finally, the Minister of Economy can resort to international cooperation in particular to verify the accuracy of the information provided by the foreign investor.


What are the powers of the competent authorities and can they prohibit or otherwise interfere with a transaction?

Pursuant to the provisions of the MFC, the Minister of Economy may either (i) authorise the investment, (ii) authorise the investment under certain conditions to be complied with, or (iii) refuse to grant its authorisation to the investment (such refusal must be reasoned).

Subject to compliance with the proportionality principle, the Minister of Economy has the authority to impose conditions in the authorisation to (i) ensure the continuity and the security on the national territory of the activities performed by the entity subject to the investment as well as the protection of the related information, (ii) maintain the knowledge and know-how of the entity subject to the investment and avoid any capture, (iii) adapt internal organisation and governance arrangements of the entity, as well as the performance of the rights acquired in such entity following the investment, and (iv) set the arrangements in relation to the information of the administrative authority in charge of control.

In this respect, the condition may consist in the transfer of a portion of the shares or all or part of a branch of activity performed by the entity subject to the investment to a third party approved by the Minister of Economy.

In the case where the authorisation contains conditions, it must identify, among the investors on behalf of which the authorisation has been requested, the investor or investors that are responsible for the compliance with such conditions.

In addition, the conditions provided in the authorisation may be reviewed on demand of the investor or by the Minister of Economy in certain specific cases referred to in article R. 151-9 of the MFC.


How long does the review process take?

The timeframe of the reviewing process is as follows:

· The Minister of Economy has a 30-business day period from the date of receipt of the authorisation request to inform the applicant either that (i) the investment does not fall within the scope of foreign investment regulations, (ii) the investment falls within the scope of foreign investment regulations but is authorised without any condition, or (iii) the investment falls within the scope of foreign investment regulations but an additional analysis must be performed to assess whether the protection of national interests may be ensured by the issuance of an authorisation with conditions. The authorisation is deemed rejected absent any response from the Minister of Economy at the expiry of such period.                

The refusal or the granting of the authorisation (with conditions, as the case may be) must be issued within 45 business days from the date of receipt by the investor of the decision of the Minister of Economy referred to above. The authorisation is deemed rejected absent any response at the expiry of such period.


How much does the review process cost?

The process is not subject to any fee or charge due to the French authorities.


What is the degree of transparency?

The review process is not public and the authorities may be expressly asked to keep the information confidential.

However, the PACTE Law introduced several requirements in relation to the transparency of the authorisation process:

•  Subject to the protection of national defence secret, the Minister of Economy must make available to the public on an annual basis the main statistical data relating to the Government's control of foreign investments in France in accordance with procedures ensuring the anonymity of the relevant individuals and legal persons;

•  The Government must also provide the Parliament with an annual report on the Government's action to protect and promote the economic, industrial and scientific interests of the Nation, as well as on
the control of foreign investments. The content of such report is described in Article L. 151-7 of the MFC. In any case, information allowing the identification of individuals and legal persons involved in
the foreign investment control process may not be disclosed to the public.


What are the consequences of the lack of clearance?

If the foreign investor implements a transaction falling within the scope of the foreign investment regime without the required authorisation, the Minister of Economy may order the investor to (i) request an authorisation, (ii) restore the situation prevailing prior to the implementation of the transaction within a delay that cannot exceed twelve months, and/or (iii) modify the investment. Such order may be subject to a fine whose amount and date of entry into force are set out in the order, and cannot exceed EUR 50,000 per day.

(i) If the protection of public order, public safety or national defence is compromised or likely to be compromised, the Minister of Economy can take the following interim measures to remedy the situation promptly:

a) Suspend the foreign investor's voting rights in connection with the shares whose acquisition should have been authorised beforehand;   

b) Prohibit or limit the distribution of dividends or any other revenues attaching to shares whose acquisition by the foreign investor should have been authorised beforehand;  

c) Temporarily suspend, restrict or prohibit the free disposal of all or part of the assets related to the strategic activities carried out by the company subject to the foreign investment; and   

d) Appoint a temporary representative (mandataire) within the company subject to the foreign investment to ensure the preservation of national interests.

(ii) Should the foreign investor not comply with the conditions set out in the authorisation, the Minister of Economy may:

a) Withdraw the authorisation (unless the investor restores the situation prevailing prior to the implementation of the transaction, he shall request a new authorisation), and/or   

b) Order the foreign investor to comply with the condition(s) within a prescribed time period, and/or 

c) Order the foreign investor to comply with an alternative condition within a prescribed time period (including unwinding the transaction or divesting all or part of the strategic activities carried out by the target company).

The order referred to in (ii) (b) and (c) may be subject to a fine whose amount and date of entry into force are set out in the order, and cannot exceed EUR 50,000 per day.

The decisions and orders referred to in (i) and (ii) above may be implemented once the investor has been put on notice to submit its comments within 15 days, unless in case of emergency, exceptional circumstances or imminent infringement of public order, public safety or national defence.

(iii) In the event where an investment has been made without the required prior authorisation or if such prior authorisation has been obtained by fraud, or in case of non-compliance with the conditions set out in the authorisation, or if the decisions or orders imposed to the foreign investor by the Minister of Economy are not complied with, the latter may impose a fine whose amount is the highest of the following:

a) Twice the amount of the (irregular) investment at stake;

b) 10 per cent of the annual turnover achieved by the target company;   

c)  EUR 5 million for legal persons or EUR 1 million for individuals.

The fine must be proportionate to the materiality of the breach.

Finally, any commitment, agreement, or contractual provision purporting to perform directly or indirectly a foreign investment falling within the scope of the foreign investment regime without due authorisation will be deemed null and void, and therefore unenforceable.


Is there a right to challenge?

The decision of the Minister of Economy denying authorisation of the investment or granting authorisation with conditions may be challenged before the French administrative court (tribunal administratif) within a two-month period following the notification of the decision, seeking its revocation.

Similarly, sanctions of the Minister of Economy can be challenged before the French administrative court (tribunal administratif).


Are any significant changes planned?

As the last modifications of the foreign investment control regime are quite recent, there are no significant changes planned in France.




[1] According to the List of screening mechanisms notified by Member States, dated 12 December 2019: Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain. The United Kingdom is technically no longer an EU Member State following its decision to exit the EU, although it remains subject to EU rules for a transitional period, which currently lasts until 31 December 2020. The UK does have a national screening mechanism, although there have been proposals to strengthen it.

 

Key Contacts

Belgium

Foreign Investment Controls in Europe Comparative Overview: EU

David Du Pont

Partner

T +32 2 626 1923

M +32 471 129987

david.dupont@ashurst.com

 

France

Foreign Investment Controls in Europe Comparative Overview: EU

Anne Reffay

Partner, Avocat à la Cour

T +33 1 53 53 54 99

M +33 6 11 49 04 71

anne.reffay@ashurst.com

 

Germany

Foreign Investment Controls in Europe Comparative Overview: EU

Matthias von Oppen, LL.M.

Partner

T +49 (0)69 97 11 28 32

M +49 (0)170 63 26 165

matthias.vonoppen@ashurst.com

 

Luxembourg

Foreign Investment Controls in Europe Comparative Overview: EU

Isabelle Lentz

Partner, Avocat à la Cour (Luxembourg)

T +352 2813 3222

M +352 621 798357

isabelle.lentz@ashurst.com

 

Spain

Foreign Investment Controls in Europe Comparative Overview: EU

Jorge Vázquez

Partner

T +34 91 364 9899

M +34 676 622 948

jorge.vazquez@ashurst.com

 

United Kingdom

Foreign Investment Controls in Europe Comparative Overview: EU

Neil Cuninghame

Partner

T +44 20 7859 1147

M +44 7917 064 750

neil.cuninghame@ashurst.com


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