Measures introduced to support companies and individuals in Cyprus in light of COVID-19
Various measures have been introduced in light of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, for the sustainability of the economy and to minimise the impact of the restrictions of movement for small businesses and the citizens of the Republic of Cyprus.
Measures taken by the Registrar of Companies
The Registrar of Companies announced the following measures:
- The postponement of publishing the three month notice in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Cyprus for the strike off of non-compliant companies until January 2021
- An extension for the payment of the annual levy of €350 for the year 2020. This may be made without the imposition of a penalty (ie the 10 per cent and 30 per cent charges) until 31 December 2020
- The imposition of monetary penalties for late submissions of statutory filings to the Registrar of Companies will be postponed until 2021
- The filing of the annual return for the period of 1 January 2020 until 31 December 2020 (ie for the year 2019) may be filed with the Registrar of Companies up until the 28 January 2021 without the imposition of a penalty.
The Registrar of Companies will continue to issue electronic certificates, this will assist companies and ensure that transactions can still be made efficiently despite the restrictions on movement.
The electronic certificates do not bear the official stamp of the Registrar of Companies. However, the authenticity of each certificate and certified copy which is issued electronically may be confirmed through this website for a period of 90 days from the date of their issue. A unique record number is provided by the Registrar of Companies for each electronic certificate, which can be used to confirm its authenticity.
Temporary suspension of loan payments
The Ministry of Finance, in exercising its powers pursuant to the Taking of Emergency Measures by Financial Institutions and Regulatory Authorities Law of 2020 (L.33(i)/2020), issued a decree on 30 March 2020.
This decree allows the suspension of the obligation to pay loan instalments including interest on credit facilities granted by financial institutions (this also includes syndicated loans) to natural persons, self employed persons and businesses (or their beneficiaries):
- who or which, as of 29 February 2020 did not present any arrears in the payment of their instalments of more than 30 days
- are facing financial difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
An interested person will need to send a written request to the financial institution; this may be submitted via email, mail or fax. It should be noted that the financial institution cannot reject an application unless the applicant has more than a 30 day delay on paying their loan instalment.
The decree also states that the suspended payments including interest will not become immediately payable after the suspension payment period has been lifted unless otherwise agreed by the financial institution and the applicant.
The emergency measures are in place from the date of issuance of the decree until 31 December 2020.
For a more in-depth analysis on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the banking sector and credit acquiring companies please see our article here.
For our legal update on the announcement of the Central Bank of Cyprus on the dividend distributions and share buy-backs please click here.
For our legal update on the announcement of the Central Bank of Cyprus on the application of measures to Credit Acquiring Companies please click here.
If you have any questions, please contact George Apostolou, Stephanie Havatzias, Iphigenia Georgiou or your usual Harneys contact.