Brazil: Inclusão de convenção de arbitragem no estatuto social das companhias

Last Updated: 4 August 2016
Article by Rafael Zabaglia

A Lei nº 13.129, de 26 de maio de 2015, alterou a Lei de Arbitragem (Lei nº 9.307, de 23 de setembro de 1996), basicamente incorporando o posicionamento dos tribunais brasileiros sobre vários de seus aspectos até então mais controvertidos, tais como a prolação de sentenças parciais, a legitimidade do governo para ser parte numa arbitragem, e os requerimentos de tutela cautelar ou antecipatória antes da instauração da arbitragem.

Também alterou a Lei das Sociedades por Ações (Lei nº 6.404, de 15 de dezembro de 1976 – a LSA) de modo a regular os efeitos da inclusão no estatuto social de cláusula arbitral em relação a acionistas discordantes.

Nos termos do novo artigo 136-A da LSA, se a inclusão de uma cláusula de arbitragem no estatuto social for aprovada em assembleia geral, todos os acionistas estarão vinculados, mas qualquer acionista discordante terá direito de se retirar da companhia e ter suas ações reembolsadas pela companhia em dinheiro (direito de retirada).

O artigo 136-A é baseado em entendimento doutrinário, e não resultado da evolução jurisprudencial – os precedentes sobre o assunto são escassos. Ele põe fim a debate acalorado sobre como conciliar o princípio majoritário que permeia a lei societária (i.e., a minoria é vinculada pelo voto da maioria) com o princípio do consentimento para arbitragem (i.e., ninguém pode ser forçado a abrir mão de seu direito constitucional de submeter disputas ao Judiciário).

O direito de retirada é indisponível sob a LSA, e está reservado a matérias essenciais cuja aprovação em assembleia possa afetar os incentivos fundamentais do acionista minoritário para investir na companhia. Só pode ser exercido se a maioria do capital votante tiver resolvido aprovar uma mudança na natureza ou estrutura da companhia (certas consolidações, cisões, fusões e aquisições societárias, mudança no objeto social, etc.) ou a limitação ou supressão de certos direitos do acionista (dividendo mínimo predefinido, preferências próprias da espécie ou classe de ação preferencial detida pelo acionista discordante, etc.).

Logo, ao estabelecer que um acionista discordante possa se retirar da companhia se a adoção da arbitragem no estatuto social for aprovada, a Lei nº 13.129/15 implicitamente reconhece que o direito de processar e ser processado, e de a companhia processar e ser processada, perante o Judiciário é direito essencial do acionista. Essa é uma solução intermediária satisfatória para o choque entre os princípios da maioria societária e do consentimento para arbitragem.

A se lamentar, a Lei nº 13.129/15 é tecnicamente falha quanto à extensão do prazo para exercer o direito de retirada. O artigo 137, inciso IV, da LSA fixa-o em trinta dias a contar da data da publicação da ata da assembleia de acionistas em questão. Esse artigo não foi alterado pela Lei nº 13.129/15 e consequentemente não inclui a adoção da cláusula de arbitragem no estatuto em sua lista das matérias cuja aprovação possibilita o direito de retirada.

O prazo de 30 dias estabelecido no artigo 137, IV, deveria ser aplicável mesmo assim, não obstante esse defeito técnico:

  1. Não há razão para diferenciação entre os prazos para exercício do direito de retirada
  2. Isso está em linha com a sistematização da Lei nº 13.129/15. Conforme o novo artigo 136-A, § 1º, da LSA, a convenção de arbitragem passa a ser vinculante exatos 30 (trinta) dias após a publicação da ata da assembleia de acionistas
  3. A interpretação alternativa – ausência de prazo para exercer o direito de retirada – causaria incertezas à companhia e aos acionistas remanescentes.

Os incisos I e II do novo artigo 136-A, § 2º, da LSA excepcionam duas circunstâncias em que o acionista discordante não poderá exercer o direito de retirada por ocasião da aprovação da inclusão da convenção de arbitragem no estatuto: (a) se tal inclusão tiver sido aprovada como condição para listagem dos valores mobiliários da companhia em segmento de bolsa de valores exigindo dispersão acionária mínima de 25% de cada espécie e classe de ação, ou (b) se tal inclusão disser respeito a uma companhia aberta cujas ações estejam dispersas no mercado e tenham liquidez.

A primeira exceção é um aceno não tão sutil aos segmentos de listagem da BM&FBovespa para companhias com níveis superiores de governança corporativa. A admissão nos segmentos do Novo Mercado e do Nível 2 é dependente cumulativamente de (a) free float mínimo de precisamente 25% das ações e (b) anuência em arbitrar disputas perante a Câmara de Arbitragem do Mercado da BM&FBovespa.

A lógica por trás dessa exceção é elogiável – direitos de retirada individuais não deveriam obstruir a adoção de padrões diferenciados de governança corporativa os quais beneficiam o mercado de capitais como um todo. No entanto, a forma como isso foi estruturado pelo artigo 136-A da LSA pode se mostrar problemática. A BM&FBovespa poderia vir a reduzir unilateralmente o requisito de admissão a todos os seus segmentos de listagem para menos de 25%, o que de imediato tornaria essa exceção legal completamente inócua. Também não é claro como essa exceção operará no contexto da admissão aos dois atuais segmentos Bovespa Mais, que exigem um free float de 25% mas limitam a exigência a sete anos.

Quanto à segunda exceção, liquidez e dispersão são requisitos cumulativos. Liquidez sob a LSA significa que as ações são parte de um índice representativo de valores mobiliários no Brasil ou no exterior conforme definido pela Comissão de Valores Mobiliários (CVM); o artigo 9º da Instrução Normativa nº 565, de 15 de junho de 2015, da CVM reconheceu somente um índice do tipo, que é o Ibovespa. Dispersão significa que o acionista controlador direto ou indireto detém menos da metade de cada espécie e classe de ação; não é como o capital social de muitas companhias brasileiras está estruturado. Tudo isso significa que essa segunda exceção tem um âmbito bastante reduzido, e os direitos de retirada de acionistas minoritários foram resguardados em larga medida.

*Texto originalmente publicado em boletim do escritório Levy & Salomão

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