Temporary moratorium in favor of companies during energy crisis
As with the corona crisis, the moratorium is again being used to protect troubled companies. The moratorium came into effect on Nov. 3, 2022, and runs initially until Dec. 31, 2022. Thereafter, the law provides for the government to extend the moratorium for up to 3 months each time.
Specifically, the moratorium offers the following protections to struggling energy-intensive companies:
1 Ceiling on negligence interest
On debts contracted for the purchase of energy products after Feb. 24, 2022, a maximum of the statutory interest rate (8%) is payable, unless the interest rate in the contract is less. Moreover, creditors cannot invoke damages clauses in case of non-payment or late payment of debts entered into after Feb. 24, 2022.
2 Lifting of attachment
A lifting of the attachment placed by creditors on the movable property of the company may be requested if the attachment was made on the basis of debts incurred for the purchase of energy products after Feb. 24, 2022.
3 No bankruptcy or judicial dissolution
The company cannot be declared bankrupt by writ of summons. If it is a legal entity, the company cannot be judicially dissolved either. Furthermore, no transfer under judicial authority of all or part of the company's business can be ordered either.
Caution: bankruptcy or judicial dissolution does still possible on the initiative of the public prosecutor or on the initiative of the provisional administrator. Furthermore, judicial dissolution is also still possible by the Chamber of Companies in Difficulty.
4 No bankruptcy filing
The obligation to file for bankruptcy yourself is suspended if the fulfillment of the bankruptcy conditions is due to the increase in energy prices. Of course, it will still be possible to file for bankruptcy on your own initiative.
It is important to note that the moratorium does not affect the obligation to pay due debts.
Moreover, the moratorium does apply only to energy-intensive firms in difficulty that were not already in difficulty on Feb. 24, 2022, that is, firms that meet the following conditions:
- the company has not permanently ceased to pay on the date of Feb. 24, 2022;
- its purchases of energy products and electricity account for at least 3% of value added for calendar year 2021;
- the company has in the three months vóór Nov. 3, 2022, paid an energy price at least double the energy price paid on average between Jan. 1, 2021, and Sept. 30, 2021;
- the company has no past due and payable tax debts or social security debts, except those under an installment plan. Tax debts up to EUR 1,500 or debts whose existence or amount is disputed and on which no final decision has been taken are not taken into account;
- the company was incorporated by Feb. 24, 2022.
Code of conduct between energy suppliers and the self-employed and SMEs
No further information is yet known about this. As soon as more information is available, this section will be updated.
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