Because of limited liability, creditor protection has always been a feature of company law. Large creditors can contract ex ante for customised protection and the law facilitates this in various ways, notably by the creation of the floating charge. Non-adjusting creditors require the protection of mandatory rules, at least in some situations. Creditor protection in relation to companies in the vicinity of insolvency is now well established, not only through ‘wrongful trading’ but also via transaction invalidity rules and directors’ disqualification. For going-concern companies the emphasis is on rules restricting the shifting assets to shareholders via distributions and associated rules relating to the maintenance of capital.
21. Share capital—capital raising and payment
This chapter considers the statutory rules governing share capital requirements, especially the rules governing allotment of shares, payment for shares, and capital raising. Share capital rules are predominantly statutory and this chapter looks at the statutory framework on allotment including the authority of the directors to allot shares, the need for rights issues; the ability to accept a non-cash consideration; and the prohibitions on various types of consideration, in the case of public companies. Minimum capital requirements and the need to avoid issuing at a discount are considered. A key issue for public companies is whether to make an offer of their shares to the public or seek to have their shares traded on a public market. The regulatory framework for public offers of shares, essentially requiring a prospectus, is considered.