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Hungary

The Hungarian Parliament has approved substantial amendments to the Companies Act as part of the harmonization of Hungarian company law with EU requirements. Most of the changes relate to companies limited by shares (Rt). Changes include new simplified rules on contribution in kind. They also give a general pre-emption right for all shareholders for newly issued shares irrespective of the public or private nature of the issue, implement the EU rules regarding own shares and introduce the redeemable share. The main thrust, however, of the amendments is the introduction of stricter and broader rules in two areas: protection of the net assets of an Rt (where a payments to shareholders on whatever title will be subject to tests, such as the ordinary course of business or the ability of the Rt lawfully to pay dividends) and financial assistance (where the scope of what may constitute financial assistance will be expanded to include any security, loan or early payment with the aim of facilitating the acquisition of shares by a third party). The above amendments enter into force as of January 1 2004.

László Nagy

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