Act no. 15/2017, of 3 May ("Act 15/2017"), which entered into force on 4 May 2017, prohibits the issuing of bearer securities (valores mobiliários ao portador), including bearer shares, by Portuguese companies. Act 15/2017 aims at bringing greater transparency to the securities’ market, enabling and facilitating control over ownership and transfer.
Act 15/2017 further provides for the mandatory conversion of existing bearer securities into registered securities (valores mobiliários nominativos), to take place within 6 months as of such Act taking effect, i.e., until 4 November 2017.
The conversion process shall be as provided by a regulation to be approved by the Government within 120 days of the effective date of Act 15/2017.
As from 4 November 2017, should the issuing company fail to operate the conversion, (i) the transfer of bearer securities shall be forbidden, and (ii) the right to participate in the distribution of profit (i.e. in the case of shares, to be paid dividends; in case of bonds, to be paid interest) shall be suspended whilst the conversion is pending.