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On 15 July 2020 the Austrian Parliament adopted a new FDI screening act (Investitionskontrollgesetz, "ICA"), following the trend to tighten the regulatory framework for foreign investment screening (read more here: Austrian government proposes new FDI screening act).
The ICA will enter into force after publication in the Federal Law Gazette. It largely transposes the requirements under the EU FDI Screening Regulation (read more here: A new regulation on FDI screening in Europe)
Under the ICA a (mandatory) filing requirement is triggered if:
No approval is required for an investment in an undertaking with i) fewer than 10 employees and ii) an annual turnover or balance sheet total of less than EUR 2m (start-up exception).
The 10 % share threshold (voting rights) applies for investments in certain highly sensitive sectors. These sectors are listed (exhaustively) in Part I of the Annex and include:
For investments in other sensitive sectors relevant for public order and/or security the triggering threshold remains at 25 % and 50 % (voting rights). Part II of the Annex contains a non-exhaustive list of these sectors, including:
Other relevant key elements of the ICA are:
The ICA is expected to considerably extend the scope of the old regime under the Foreign Trade Act (Außenwirtschaftsgesetz). A broad range of investments will therefore need to undergo a screening process. This is in line with the general trend of FDI screening instruments being tightened/enacted across the EU fuelled by concerns of buyouts of critical European infrastructure by foreign investors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have summarised the regimes in Central Eastern Europe on our Knowledge Portal. Download the CEE FDI Booklet here.
Authors: Volker Weiss, Constantin Fladerer
foreign direct investment info corner
The info corner provides an up-to-date overview of the currently existing FDI regimes in the CEE, covering the following aspects: Filing requirements, process and timetable, legal basis and related Schoenherr publications. It will keep pace with ongoing developments in the countries, and will therefore be continuously updated.
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