By Ursula Rath, Thomas Kulnigg

On October 25, 2018, the National Council passed a long-awaited amendment to the German Stock Corporation Act (AktG) aimed at facilitating access to capital markets for Austrian companies, especially SMEs, growth companies and start-ups. From 2019, unlisted companies will also be able to issue bearer shares and list their shares on the Third Market of the Vienna Stock Exchange, the trading platform with the lowest admission requirements.

To date, this failed due to the fact that the issuance of bearer shares so far only open to companies that are listed on an EU-regulated market (in Austria: the Official Trade of the Viennese evil). The third market is not such an EU regulated market. The new regulations are scheduled to enter into force on 1 January 2019.