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Newsletter October 2017

Legal Updates

New public procurement code

In august of 2017 was approved the Law-Decree nr. 111-B/2017, of the 31st of august which approved the ninth amend to the Public Procurement Code (henceforth “PPC”). The decree introduces relevant amendments and new features to the provisions on public procurement. You may find, in summarized terms, some of the most relevant modifications below:

  • Reduction of the thresholds of direct adjustment. Henceforth, the threshold of direct adjustments involving only one company are capped at € 20,000, regarding contracts on the acquisition of goods and services, the former cap being € 75,000. The threshold of works contracts was lowered from € 150,000 to € 30,000.
  • Creation of a new procedure of “Prior Consultation” with the consultation of three suppliers/entities, so as to limit the use of direct adjudgment, in cases regarding the acquisition of goods and services between € 20,000 and € 75,000 and concerning works contracts valued between € 30,000 and € 150,000.

In general, this piece of legislation foresees a quicker procedural process for most proceedings, the creation of incentives towards the hiring of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and the express provision of the arbitrability of conflicts emerging from proceedings or contracts now envisaged in the new PPC.

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Strengthening of the worker’s right to rest

The Draft Law nr. 644/XIII is in the process of approval, which will amend the Labour Code for the 13th time, strengthening the worker’s right to rest. Shall be add a new article, article nr. 199.º-A, which will determinate that the use of a digital tool within the context of a labour relationship shall not preclude the worker’s right to rest. The present article will restrict the use of these instruments by workers during their outside of working hours based on “overriding demands of the company’s operations” – a concept that may be determined by instrument of collective labour regulation, or in its absence, through agreements settled between the employer and employees’ organisations or even directly with the employees, allowing the employer, having the attempts to reach an agreement failed, to define by regulation the situations that shall constitute an “overriding demand of the company’s operations”.

The purpose is to protect the employees from the gradual and intense introduction of new technologies into labour contexts, which creates the possibility of being constantly connected on a digital level to the work place and/or instruments used for work, that distorts the organization of working hours, assuming a more flexible commitment of the employee between work – regarding the place and time dedicated to it – and personal life.

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Business Updates

€200m co-investment fund

On the 6th of October was published the Law-Decree nr. 126-C/2017, establishing the “€200M Co-Investment Fund” (hereby called as “Fund”).

The Fund’s initial capital was set at 100 million euros and will be entirely financed by European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).

The fund has the goal of decrease the difficulties inherent in financing Small and Medium-sized enterprises (hereinafter as SMEs) at a start-up phase, when access to bank credit, to reduce indebtedness and to contribute to their capitalization. The Fund aims to favour corporate financing by an equity or near-equity instrument, under a co-investment regime, for SMEs seeking to develop innovation projects.

Following this outline, the Fund is characterized as an autonomous fund which intends to avoid the risks of concentration of investments that stem from a limited group of operators, as well as to reduce the number of intermediaries. The Fund, now established, intends to pursue the following purposes:

i. Foster the incorporation or capitalization of companies, primarily, during the start-up phase;

ii. Promote the increase of venture capital activity in Portugal, through the mobilization of national and international entities specialized in venture capital that, aside the financial investment referred, shall allow the companies to acquire knowledge of technical, commercial and financial experience.

The legislator established a set of cumulatively conditions for performing these operations, highlighting: (i) the co-investor should be one of the entities foreseen on 1st article of the “Regime Jurídico do Capital de Risco, Empreendedorismo Social e Investimento” (Legal Framework of Venture Capital, Social Entrepreneurship and Investment), (ii) the co-investor should submit an application to the Fund, (iii) the Fund and the co-investor cannot hold half or more than half of the share capital or voting rights of the target company of the investment in, and (iv) the co-investor cannot resort to other instruments that have benefited from ESIF funding.

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Websummit 2017

The Websummit is back in Lisbon! The summit will take place between the 6th and the 9th of November, at FIL and Altice Arena, at Parque das Nações. The event will host 1000 speakers, 21 conferences, 60 thousand attendees from 170 countries and around 1600 start-ups looking to meet about 1500 investors.

Although its known for its technological aspect, the event will expand its scope to other areas such as health, sports, fashion, design and environmental sustainability.

According to official data provided by the event’s official website, among various renowned speakers that will participate, will be Al Gore, François Hollande, Garry Kasparov and the UN Secretary General, António Guterres. Two very special speakers will also be discussing current topics on stage: Sophia and Professor Einstein, robots developed by Hanson Robotics!

The Government, in reaction to the success of last year’s event which, and according to the event planners, has injected around 200 million euros into the Portuguese economy and attracted throughout the year significant investors in the technological field to Portugal, decided to up to 150 the number of start-ups supported by the Government in order to participate in this year’s event.

The Websummit is one of the biggest and most prominent events related entrepreneurship, technology and innovation in Europe.

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