Welcome to CapLaw

CapLaw is the first electronic newsletter providing up-to-date information on legal and regulatory developments, concise articles and reports on deals and events with particular focus on Swiss capital markets. CapLaw is addressed to all Swiss and international lawyers, in-house counsels financial institutions and corporates as well as those who are interested in the Swiss capital markets.

The Editors
René Bösch, Homburger AG
Franca Contratto, University of Lucerne
Thomas Reutter, Bär & Karrer AG
Patrick Schleiffer, Lenz & Staehelin
Philippe A. Weber, Niederer Kraft & Frey AG
Thomas Werlen, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP

Placement of CHF 175 Million 0.275% Convertible Bonds

Zur Rose Group is the largest e-commerce pharmacy in Europe. On 31 March 2020, Zur Rose Finance B.V. successfully placed CHF 175 million 0.275% bonds due 2025 guaranteed by and convertible into shares of Zur Rose Group AG. The bonds were issued at 100% of their principal amount and will mature on 31 March 2025. The proceeds will be used, among others, to rapidly adjust to the significantly increased levels of demand for vital medication offered by online pharmacies since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.

Increase of the Capital of La Foncière

La Foncière, a real estate fund governed by articles 58 et seq. of the Swiss Collective Investment Schemes Act, completed from 16 to 25 March 2020 an increase by 10% of the number of its units (parts) listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. The 1’237’107 additional units were fully subscribed to, in spite of most challenging market conditions. These additional units have been listed on 31 March 2020.

An Introduction to the New Rules for Digital Assets

New rules for digital assets have been proposed by the Federal Council in its Dispatch to the Parliament of 27 November 2019 in Switzerland. This contribution provides a brief overview of the big picture, the key legal amendments related to distributed ledger technology, as well as the latest adjustments to the draft of the DLT-Rules of 27 November 2019 in comparison to the Preliminary Draft of 22 March 2019. Further, the impact of the new rules on market participants is discussed.

By Luca Bianchi (Reference: CapLaw-2020-01)

DLT Draft Law – Civil Law Aspects

A cornerstone of the DLT Draft Law aims at improving legal certainty in connection with the issuance and transfer of tokenized rights and financial instruments, such as bonds and shares. To that effect, the DLT Draft Law provides for the introduction of a new concept of so-called uncertificated register securities (Registerwertrechte) and specific rules in the Code of Obligations for corporations looking to issue shares in tokenized form.

By Stefan Kramer / Urs Meier (Reference: CapLaw-2020-02)

DLT Draft Law – Insolvency Law Aspects

One key element of the DLT Draft Law concerns the question of how crypto-based assets are treated in bankruptcy. When it comes to storing such assets there are basically two options: either the owner of the crypto-based assets stores the tokens him/herself, or the tokens are stored by a third party custodian. Under current Swiss law, it is not clear whether crypto-based assets held by a custodian on behalf of a client will be segregated in bankruptcy. The DLT Draft Law therefore proposes to introduce a new insolvency regime that will allow for such segregation.

By Benedikt Maurenbrecher / Urs Meier (Reference: CapLaw-2020-03)

Conflicts of Laws on the Distributed Ledger and Negotiable Instruments

The Bill on the Federal Act on the Adaptation of Federal Law to Developments of the Distributed Ledgers Technology of 27 November 2019 (the “DLT Bill“) which was sent to parliament addresses among other issues the question of conflicts of laws related to rights recorded on a distributed ledger. Considering the ubiquity of the potential users of a distributed ledger and the difficulty to localize a distributed ledger, which does not present a strong nexus to any given place, this is an absolute necessity. This article aims to present the principles of the amendments to the PILA that are being proposed by the DLT Bill.

By Rashid Bahar (Reference: CapLaw-2020-04)

Central Securities Depositaries in the Age of Tokenized Securities

The distributed ledger technology offers a new way to transfer securities and record their ownership. When fully deployed, it could form the backbone of a new market infrastructure, and could even replace central securities depositaries as we know them today. The Federal Council however raised the possibility that certain distributed ledger infrastructures could be themselves qualified as central securities depositaries. This article reviews cases where the rules on central securities depositaries could apply in a distributed ledger technology context, and describes how the topic is addressed in the proposed Federal Act on Adapting Federal Law to the Developments of the Distributed Ledger Technology.

By Jacques Iffland / Ariel Ben Hattar (Reference: CapLaw-2020-05)

Acquisition of The Medicines Company

In connection with the acquisition of NASDAQ-listed biopharmaceutical company The Medicines Company for USD 9.7 billion, Novartis AG and Novartis Finance Corporation entered into a USD 7 billion short-term (bridge) credit agreement and completed a USD 5 billion four-tranche SEC-registered bond offering.

Placement of SGS Shares

The von Finck family successfully placed 960,000 shares (approx. 12.7%) in SGS SA by way of an accelerated bookbuilding process. The overall transaction volume amounts to CHF 2.3 billion. In light of its long-term investment strategy and planning, the family decided to divest a majority of its stake in SGS.

Addex Therapeutics Ltd lists American Depositary Shares (ADSs) on NASDAQ

On January 29, 2020, Addex Therapeutics Ltd (Addex) (SIX: ADXN), a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company pioneering allosteric modulation-based drug discovery and development, announced the listing of American Depositary Shares (ADSs) representing its ordinary shares on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The ADSs will be listed for trading on Nasdaq under the symbol “ADXN” on January 29, 2020.