China: 定PPP项目股东对项目公司义务承担连带责任的性质分析

Last Updated: 23 September 2019
Article by Li Deting
Most Read Contributor in China, September 2019

PPP项目中,社会投资人通过公开程序被选中为PPP项目的社会资本后,一般会成立项目公司具体负责项目的实施,但在PPP项目合同或其补充协议中都会约定社会资本对项目公司在PPP项目中的义务承担连带责任。这种连带责任在法律性质上究竟为何?笔者通过本文对此问题进行探索。

一、问题的提出

在PPP项目合同或者补充协议中通常会约定"社会资本方对项目公司的一切经营行为及其产生的法律后果承担全部连带责任"或类似表述,这是否意味着社会资本方对项目公司的义务承担连带保证担保责任呢?

上市公司是当前PPP项目中一种非常主要的社会投资人类型。由于法律法规对上市公司对外担保的决议程序、金额和信息披露等方面都有严格的要求,如果PPP项目公司股东对项目公司义务承担连带责任("股东连带责任")在法律性质上认定为连带保证担保,则上市公司或其控股子公司作为PPP项目股东签署PPP项目合同前不仅需要董事会或股东会审议批准,而且还要遵守金额和信息披露等方面的要求。

对于PPP项目中股东连带责任,一种观点认为构成连带保证,这种观点在实务中有一定的普遍性,且出于合规的考虑,很多上市公司在中标成为PPP项目社会资本方后,会选择做对外担保公告。如云南白药集团股份有限公司即在2017年11月23日发布《关于全资子公司投资设立PPP项目公司并对其提供担保的公告》,披露"全资子公司云南省医药有限公司(以下简称"省医药公司")与云南昊邦医药销售有限公司组成的联合体中标昆明医科大学第一附属医院呈贡医院(一期工程)PPP项目","现省医药公司拟以现金出资向项目公司投资入股10万元,股权比例为10%,并与合作方共同对项目公司的履约行为承担连带保证责任"。

一种观点认为不构成连带保证,应该认定为是债务加入。

连带保证与债务加入在责任承担方式、责任承担效果方面十分相似,尤其在当事人的约定不够清晰的时候,更难区分两者。因此,有必要对对连带保证及债务加入的概念、特征及构成要件进行分析和比较,以便探究PPP项目中股东连带责任的真正性质。

二、保证担保概念辨析

根据《中华人民共和国担保法》规定及担保法理论,保证是指保证人和债权人约定,当债务人不履行债务时,保证人按照约定履行债务或者承担责任的行为。保证具有从属性、无偿性、单务性和补充性等特征,而其中从属性和补充性是保证担保的最核心的两个特征(从本文主旨角度而言)。

从属性是指:保证合同的成立以主合同的有效成立为前提;保证债权随主债权的移转而移转;主合同的变更将导致保证合同的变更;保证随主合同债务的消灭而消灭。

补充性是指:保证人责任的补充性,保证人在主债权未偿范围内承担责任。

《中华人民共和国担保法》第十三条规定:"保证人与债权人应当以书面形式订立保证合同。"

《担保法》第十五条规定:"保证合同应当包括以下内容:(一)被保证的主债权种类、数额;(二)债务人履行债务的期限;(三)保证的方式;(四)保证担保的范围;(五)保证的期间;(六)双方认为需要约定的其他事项。保证合同不完全具备前款规定内容的,可以补正。"

《担保法》第十八条:"当事人在保证合同中约定保证人与债务人对债务承担连带责任的,为连带责任保证。连带责任保证的债务人在主合同规定的债务履行期届满没有履行债务的,债权人可以要求债务人履行债务,也可以要求保证人在其保证范围内承担保证责任。"

结合担保法的上述规定,我们理解,连带责任保证的成立至少需要满足以下条件:

(1)保证人须有明确承担保证责任的意思表示,且保证合同/条款应当以书面方式订立;

(2)当事人在保证合同中约定保证人与债务人对债务承担连带责任;

(3)保证合同应当包括主债权种类、数额、主债务履行期限、保证范围;保证期间、保证方式等内容作出约定。

三、债务加入概念辨析

中国法律法规尚未规定债务加入,但在中国法学理论和司法实践中,债务加入是一个广泛认可的概念。债务加入这一概念最早出现在江苏高院《关于适用(中华人民共和国合同法)若干问题的讨论纪要(一)》(苏高发审委[2005]16号)("《江苏高院会议纪要》")第十七条:"债务加入是指第三人与债权人、债务人达成三方协议或第三人与债权人达成双方协议或第三人向债权人单方承诺由第三人履行债务人的债务,但同时不免除债务人履行义务的债务承担方式。"

最高人民法院民二庭在《民商事审判若干疑难问题》也从债务加入的认定标准、债务加入的责任形式、第三人履行义务后向债务人追偿三个方面总结了司法实践中关于债务加入问题的争议焦点。

《最高人民法院关于审理民事案件适用诉讼时效制度若干问题的规定》(法释〔2018〕12号)规定:"债务承担情形下,构成原债务人对债务承认的,应当认定诉讼时效从债务承担意思表示到达债权人之日起中断。"

虽然《江苏高院会议纪要》、最高人民法院民二庭的《民商事审判若干疑难问题》、《最高人民法院关于审理民事案件适用诉讼时效制度若干问题的规定》和诸多司法判例中都认可债务加入概念,但对债务加入的内在特征和外在形式缺少明确的界定。《江苏高院会议纪要》给出了债务加入的定义,但更多的是对其外在表现形式的描述,而对其内涵、特征、构成要件及其他相关制度的确保未进一步界定。

台湾学者史尚宽教授认为"以他人债务有效为前提,第三人以担保之目的,对于同一债权人新负担与该债务与其承担时有同一内容之债务之契约,谓之并存的债务承担或重叠的债务承担,亦称债务加入或共同的债务承担" [1]。台湾学者黄立先生认为"并存之债务承担指承担人加入债务关系与债务人共同负担其债务" [2]。大陆学者崔建远教授认为"债务加入指债务承担人参与到原债资关系中与原债务人一同对债权人负担同一债务的情形" [3]。大陆学者韩世元认为"债务加入并不一定发生债务的转移,只是债务人与加入人共同承担某种债务,虽然不同于免责的债务承担,但从广义的债务承担的角度上来看,仍然属于债务承担的范畴,也叫并存的债务承担" [4]。朱广新教授认为"债务加入至第三人参与到原债之关系中,大陆学者与原债务人共同承受同一义务或责任" [5]

虽然上述学者关于债务加入的定义不尽相同,但都描述出了债务加入的以下特点:

(1) 债务承担人与原债务人承担的是同一债务;

(2) 债务承担人与原债务人所处地位和承担相同;

(3) 债务承担人与原债务人承担责任的连带性;

(4) 原债务人不因债务承担人的加入而免责。

一般认为,债务加入构成要件包括当事人意思表示真实、债务合法有效、债务具有可转移性等。

四、连带保证与债务加入异同比较分析

连带保证与债务加入的相同之处表现在连带保证中的保证人与债务加入中的债务承担人都是以连带方式承担责任,而且在责任承担效果方面也十分相似。正因为如此,很多时候难以区分两者。史尚宽先生在其编著的《债法总论》中曾明确指出,"并存的债务承担,以担保原债务人的债务为目的,此点与保证,尤其与抛弃先诉权之连带保证,同其性质" 。

但笔者理解,以下不同之处(还有其他不同之处)可以将两者区分开来:

(1)连带责任保证存在保证期限,而债务加入无保证期限;

(2)连带责任保证具有从属性,主债务和保证债务存在主从关系 [6],而在债务加入中,债务承担人与原债务人承担的是同一债务;

(3)连带责任保证具有补充性,保证人责任的补充性,保证人在主债权未偿范围内承担责任。而相比较而言,债务加入并不存在补充性,债务承担人与原债务人所处地位和承担相同。

除了上述区别外,理论界和实务界认为两者尚存在其他区别,但笔者认为其他区别,可能并非在所有情况下适用、从而有效地区分两者。如,崔建远教授指出"实践中,对于判断并存的债务承担还是保证债务有疑义时,可以看承担人对于债务的加入是否具有自己的利益,有自己的利益应解释为并存的债务" [7]

上述观点在司法实践中得到了响应。在荣成市鑫宁建筑工程有限公司与荣成市宏祥驾驶员培训有限公司保证合同纠纷一案(案号:(2018)鲁10民终2533号)中,二审法院认为"债务加入人与主债务存在利害关系,对债务的履行具有给付上的对价利益,其承诺不仅仅是为了主债务人的利益,而主要是为了其自身直接和实际的利益"。在罗楚楚与中阳建设集团有限公司福建分公司、中阳建设集团有限公司民间借贷纠纷一案中(案号:(2016)闽0582民初13085号)中,法院认为"债务加入中的第三人与债务人之间往往有利益关系,债务人的还债行为直接影响到第三人的利益"。

但是,笔者理解,在关联方作为保证人的连带责任保证中,保证人对于主债务通常也存在直接的利益关系。因此,上述"利益说"并非一个可靠的标准。

五、PPP项目中股东连带责任性质分析

经过上文对连带保证与债务加入的异同进行分析,笔者理解PPP项目中股东连带责任在法律性质上为债务加入而非连带保证,具体理由如下:

(1)在PPP项目合同或其补充协议中通常会约定社会资本方对项目公司的义务承担连带责任,但并没有关于责任承担期间的约定,即不会有关于保证期间的约定,且合同各方的真实意思表示并非股东方仅仅在一定期限内承担连带责任。虽然实务中,连带保证中当事人也可能未约定保证期间,但保证期间有约定的从约定,未约定的,依据《担保法》第26条的规定"连带责任保证的保证人与债权人未约定保证期间的,债权人有权自主债务履行期届满之日起六个月内要求保证人承担保证责任"。

(2)PPP项目自身特点决定了股东连带责任不具有从属性和补充性。PPP项目本质是政府部门通过公开程序选择一家社会资本(或者联合体)从事PPP项目的投资、融资、开发、建设、运营等,社会资本负全部责任。但固定资产投资项目特点决定了社会投资人被遴选为社会资本后一般会成立一家项目公司具体负责PPP项目的实施,但因本质上是社会资本对PPP项目负全部责任,项目公司成立后,社会资本的责任并不会被免除,其与项目公司共同负责,尤其是在资金投入、人员配备等方面更是依赖于社会资本方。可以明显看出,股东连带责任不具有从属性和补充性。

综上,笔者理解PPP项目中股东连带责任在法律性质上为债务加入而非连带保证。虽然PPP项目中股东连带责任并非连带保证责任,但并不意味其责任减轻了。通常认为,债务加入相比连带保证是更重的一种责任,更能保护债权人利益。

至于PPP项目公司股东对项目公司义务承担连带责任是否遵循上市公司对外担保的决议程序、金额和信息披露等方面都有严格的要求,限于篇幅,本文不做讨论,将在今后和各位读者分享笔者的观点。

六、司法裁判规制简介

笔者在撰写这篇文章过程中,在中国裁判文书网中检索了区分连带责任保证与债务加入的相关案例,发现大致以下规律可以遵循,向各位读者做以简单介绍:

(1)区分连带责任保证与债务加入充分尊重当事人真实意思表示,真实意思表示根据案件的具体情况综合判断;

(2)认定为连带责任保证需要有明确的意思表示。在缺少明确意思表示的情况下,第三人承诺还款、承诺与债务人共同还款、承诺与债务人共同负责或者共同承担、"在还款协议上签字盖章等行为一般认定为债务加入;

(3)人民法院裁判时以最大程度保护债权人利益为主要考量点。

文中备注:

[1]史尚宽著:《债法总论》,中国政法大学出版社2000年版,第250~251页。

[2]黄立著:《民法债篇总论》,中国政法大学出版社2002年版,第635~636页。

[3]崔建远著:《合同法总论》(第二版),中国人民大学出版社2011年版,第263页。

[4]韩世远著:《合同法总论》,法律出版社2008年版,第432页。

[5]朱广新著:《合同法总则》,中国人民大学出版社2008年版,第421页。

[6]史尚宽指出:债务加入与连带责任保证的区别在于,债务承担人所承担的债务,为与原债务并立的自己的债务,而保证人所担保的债务,为附属于主债务的债务。参见史尚宽著:《债法总论》,中国政法大学出版社2000年版,第751页。

[7]崔建远著:《新合同法原理与案例评释》,吉林大学出版社1999年版,第421页。

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions