Home / People / Benoît Provost

Benoît Provost

Partner

CMS Francis Lefebvre Avocats
2 rue Ancelle
92522 Neuilly-sur-Seine
Cedex
France
Languages French, English

Benoît Provost joined CMS Francis Lefebvre Avocats in 1990, coopted parner in 2020.

Benoît specialises in all matters relating to consolidation and restructuring for listed and unlisted companies.

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Education

  • Post-graduate degrees in Business Law and Taxation, University of Paris I and II (1989/1990)
  • Certificates of specialisation in corporate law and taxation (1994)
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Publications

  • Plan d'attribution gratuite d'actions : une limite de 10 % du capital en revolving ?, co-author - Capital Finance (08/07/2018)
  • LBO/Capital transmission, Dossiers Pratiques collection (2° édition 2013) - Editions Francis Lefebvre, co-author
  • Guide LBO, Dossiers Pratiques collection, Editions Francis Lefebvre, 2012, co-author
  • Les difficultés pratiques d’ordre juridique et fiscal des opérations de fusions transfrontalières – Cahiers de droit de l’entreprise n° 6 (November-Décember 2011)
  • Fusions transfrontalières 2011 : attention à l’échéance du 31 décembre 2010, co-auteur –Option Finance (06/12/2010)
  • Guide de la fusion transfrontalière : premier retour d’expérience – Hors série Option Finance (25/01/2010)
  • Ingénierie Financière. Le trust à la française au secours des opérations de LBO ?, co-auteur, Revue Banque (01/07/2009)
  • Author of various papers : la Lettre de l’Immobilier/ Option Finance
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02/11/2018
Trans­fers of cross-bor­der re­gistered of­fices
The gen­es­isIn 2003, the draft 14th Dir­ect­ive on cross-bor­der trans­fers of re­gistered of­fices was ini­ti­ated by the European Com­mis­sion. It was sub­sequently aban­doned in 2007, par­tic­u­larly due to the res­ist­ance from cer­tain Mem­ber States which were op­posed to abandon­ing some le­gis­lat­ive autonomy in the field of com­pany law1.To­wards a har­mon­iz­a­tion of the rules on re­gistered of­fices trans­fers with­in the European Uni­on?This pro­ject has been put on hold on the agenda and Vera Jour­ovà, European Com­mis­sion­er for Justice in charge of the draft 14th Dir­ect­ive on cross-bor­der trans­fer ex­plained: "I am well aware that cross-bor­der trans­fers are a com­plex sub­ject and that is why we are care­fully as­sess­ing how to ad­dress it it. We want to take in­to ac­count all the dif­fer­ent in­terests at stake. "2. This pro­ject’s goal is to re­spond to the "ur­gent need for a spe­cial European frame­work for the cross-bor­der trans­fer of re­gistered of­fices"3.A suc­cess­ful con­firm­a­tion from the ECJWhile this pos­sible har­mon­iz­a­tion is pending, the European Court of Justice, in a 25 Oc­to­ber 2017 de­cision, sanc­tioned Po­lan­d's re­fus­al to re­move from the loc­al re­gister a com­pany that had trans­ferred its re­gistered of­fice to Lux­em­bourg. In this in­stance Po­land had con­sidered that the re­mov­al ne­ces­sar­ily im­plied the com­ple­tion of li­quid­a­tion form­al­it­ies (ECJ, 25 Oc­to­ber 2017 n°C-106/16, Pol­bud-Wykon­awst­wo). In that de­cision, the Court found that Pol­ish le­gis­la­tion dis­pro­por­tion­ately in­fringed on the prin­ciple of free­dom of es­tab­lish­ment with­in the Uni­on and es­tab­lished for com­pan­ies the right to cross-bor­der con­ver­sion while re­tain­ing their leg­al per­son­al­it­ies4.France as a good prag­mat­ic stu­dentIn this re­spect, France is a rather good stu­dent and, sub­ject to com­pli­ance with a now well-defined pro­ced­ure and cer­tain con­di­tions, the clerks of the com­mer­cial courts de facto re­cog­nise the valid­ity of trans­fers of cross-bor­der re­gistered of­fices with main­ten­ance of leg­al per­son­al­ity both when France is the coun­try of de­par­ture and when France is the host coun­try5; in the lat­ter case, a doc­u­ment must be sub­mit­ted to the French Re­gis­trar con­firm­ing that for­eign law au­thor­izes the trans­form­a­tion of a for­eign com­pany in­to a French com­pany; this doc­u­ment may be a leg­al pro­vi­sion of the do­mest­ic law of the coun­try of de­par­ture (as­sum­ing such a pro­vi­sion ex­ists) or, more gen­er­ally, a leg­al opin­ion is­sued by a not­ary or law­yer from the coun­try of de­par­ture. In prac­tice, it is at this stage that dif­fi­culties may arise. A prom­in­ent ex­ample of these dif­fi­culties is il­lus­trated by the fact that less than 200 days from Brexit, and since the United King­dom does not have leg­al pro­vi­sions or prac­tice gov­ern­ing such op­er­a­tions, trans­fers of re­gistered of­fices from the United King­dom to an­oth­er EU coun­try (and in par­tic­u­lar France) are not pos­sible. In short, a trans­fer of headquar­ters to (or from) France takes place in 4 stages:France as the coun­try of de­par­tureFrance as the host coun­tryStep 1Un­an­im­ous de­cision of the share­hold­ers to trans­fer the re­gistered of­fice, sub­ject to the res­ol­utory con­di­tion that the com­pany will not be re­gistered in the re­gister of the host coun­tryDe­cision of the share­hold­ers to trans­fer the re­gistered of­fice to France in ac­cord­ance with the pro­vi­sions of loc­al do­mest­ic law Step 2Com­ple­tion of the form­al­it­ies in France, i.e. fil­ing with the RCS the pro­ject to trans­fer the re­gistered of­fices abroad Re­quest to the French judge to pro­ceed with the re­gis­tra­tion of the trans­fer with the re­quired cer­ti­fic­ate (e.g. leg­al opin­ion above)Step 3Com­ple­tion of form­al­it­ies in the host coun­try with main­ten­ance of leg­al per­son­al­ity (if per­mit­ted by the law of the host coun­try) for its re­gis­tra­tion Re­gis­tra­tion of the com­pany in FranceStep 4Fil­ing of the re­quest for can­cel­la­tion of the com­pany from the French RCS with main­ten­ance of leg­al per­son­al­ity (cf. form M4 of can­cel­la­tion avail­able on In­fogreffe and no longer via a re­quest ad­dressed to the judge)Re­mov­al of the com­pany from the re­gister of the coun­try of de­par­ture and com­mu­nic­a­tion to the French Re­gis­trarAl­tern­at­ive tools in the ab­sence of har­mon­iz­a­tionIf it is not yet pos­sible to re­con­cile the con­di­tions im­posed by the man­dat­ory pro­vi­sions of each na­tion­al law on the trans­fer of re­gistered of­fice (and, for ex­ample, in France, the un­an­im­ity re­quire­ment in the case of a cross-bor­der trans­fer), prac­tice has de­veloped al­tern­at­ive solu­tions that achieve more or less the same res­ult, such as pri­or trans­form­a­tion in­to a European com­pany fol­lowed by a trans­fer (European Reg­u­la­tion 2157/2001 of 8 Oc­to­ber 2001) or cross-bor­der mer­gers with­in the Uni­on (Dir­ect­ive 2017/1132 of the European Par­lia­ment and of the Coun­cil of 14 June 2017) or even out­side the Uni­on, sub­ject to the com­pat­ib­il­ity of na­tion­al laws (and, for ex­ample, with Switzer­land), without for­get­ting - in the spe­cif­ic case of a re­or­gan­iz­a­tion in­volving France as the coun­try of de­par­ture -, a tool offered by the French Civil Code for the uni­ver­sal trans­fer of the as­sets of a French com­pany to its sole share­hold­er - re­gard­less of the coun­try of re­gis­tra­tion of the sole share­hold­er - by way of dis­sol­u­tion without li­quid­a­tion (cf. Art­icle 1844-5 of the Civil Code).In this con­text, one may won­der wheth­er such har­mon­iz­a­tion – even though it has been long awaited for -  is still im­per­at­ive.1 Source: Eval­u­ation of European ad­ded value EAVA 3/2012 (p. 23)2Brus­sels tackles head of­fice mo­bil­ity, Fré­der­ic Si­mon, 3 Oc­to­ber 20173Cross-bor­der mer­gers and di­vi­sions, trans­fers of seat: Is there a need to le­gis­late? Study, June 2016; in the same vein, Com­pany law: the Com­mis­sion pro­poses new rules to help com­pan­ies cross bor­ders and find on­line solu­tions, 25 April 20184"Right to cross-bor­der trans­form­a­tion of com­pan­ies in the Uni­on: the ECJ passes the third! "Thomas Mas­trullo, Bul­let­in Joly So­ciétés Janu­ary 1, 2018 n°1 p. 195See in this sense Cass. 27 Oc­to­ber 2009 n°08-16115 Com­ment Michel Men­jucq Bul­let­in Joly So­ciétés - Feb­ru­ary 2010

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The gen­es­is In 2003, the draft 14th Dir­ect­ive on cross-bor­der trans­fers of re­gistered of­fices was ini­ti­ated by the European Com­mis­sion. It was sub­sequently aban­doned in 2007, par­tic­u­larly due to the res­ist­ance...
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02/11/2018
Trans­fers of cross-bor­der re­gistered of­fices
Trans­fers of cross-bor­der re­gistered of­fices: how the mar­ket de­veloped a prac­tice al­low­ing such trans­fers with­in (or even out­side) the European Uni­on
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