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Date: 27 de February de 2023
Posted by: CPDMA Team

Financial Covenants

Imagem de um aperto de mãos com gráficos e moedas ao fundo representando covenants financeiros.

The financial crisis that affected Americanas is notorious and had as its origin "accounting inconsistencies" declared by the company in a material fact to the market. However, the reverberations of these inconsistencies, which forced the company to file for judicial reorganization after the blocking of its assets [1], são oriundos da quebra dos chamados covenants financeiros [2]

Covenants Financial covenants (can be translated as warranty clauses or financial covenants) are clauses included in financing contracts that establish requirements and limitations for the debtor. These clauses aim at safeguarding the financial health of the debtor through compliance with certain financial parameters or the presence of certain monitoring tools. 

Os covenants are developed based on the specific conditions of the loan and the borrower's financial profile. In this way, the covenants are a protection tool for the creditor, who can demand them from the debtor when negotiating a loan. 

Its legal nature is mixed: the covenants will have characteristics of anticipated maturity, allowing the creditor to monitor the debtor's solvency, and also of a penalty clause, since one of the effects of the covenants é a cobrança de multa pelo descumprimento de alguma condição obrigacional, não ocasionando, necessariamente, um inadimplemento da obrigação principal [3].

Some common examples of covenants These include restrictions on taking on additional debt, requirements to maintain certain financial indicators such as debt and liquidity ratios, periodic financial reporting, and restrictions on profit sharing. 

If the debtor does not comply with the covenants established in your financing contract, the lender may be entitled to take certain measures, such as collecting on the loan early or denying future loans. However, such measures should be used with caution, as the lender also has an interest in maintaining a good relationship with the borrower and ensuring the recovery of your investment.

It is possible that the creditor, when faced with the breach of covenantsdoes not require compliance with the penalties imposed, granting a Waiver Fee, que se trata de um instrumento por meio do qual o credor concede a dispensa, renúncia ou perdão pela quebra de certa cláusula pactuada anteriormente, ou a renegociação das limitações impostas à empresa [4].

Before signing a financing contract, both parties should carefully consider the covenants and their potential impact on the debtor's financial situation. It is important to have a clear understanding of these terms to ensure that the parties understand and accept the obligations set forth. In addition, it is important to consider the timing of the negotiation of the covenants and the risks of variations in the macroeconomic scenario, for the purpose of preventing the breach of the obligations assumed due to external variations that are beyond the debtor's control.

Including the possibility of renegotiation between creditor and debtor in case of an eventual strategic change of the company, which needs more leverage (and, consequently, is no longer able to comply with the covenants assumidos [5]. É cotidiana a renegociação das referidas obrigações: em média, contratos de financiamento firmados com companhias abertas são renegociados a cada nove meses [6].

In summary, the covenants Financial instruments are important tools to protect both the creditor and the debtor and ensure the long-term financial health of the business. Careful evaluation and understanding of the terms of the covenants are fundamental to ensure a balanced and successful financing.

By: Álvaro Scarpellini Campos

Civil Law | CPDMA Team


[1] BTG Pactual consegue liminar para suspender R$ 1,2 bilhão da Americanas alegando o vencimento antecipado da dívida em razão da quebra das garantias contábeis firmadas;

[2] Utiliza-se como referência o seguinte trecho do pedido Tutela Cautelar em Caráter Antecedente ajuizado pela Americanas em 13/01/2023: “Em consequência, eventuais alterações poderão repercutir no grau de endividamento da empresa e no capital de giro mínimo, exigidos em contratos financeiros, inclusive internacionais, acarretando o descumprimento de cláusulas de “covenants financeiros” e “cross-default”, culminando no vencimento antecipado de dívidas da ordem de R$ 40 bilhões”- Processo nº 0803087-20.2023.8.19.0001, 4ª Vara Cível Empresarial da Comarca do Rio de Janeiro/RJ;

[3] Glitz, Frederico (2018): Covenants em Contratos de Financiamento de Longo Prazo: Uma Perspectiva Jurídica. p. 1386.

[4] Glitz, Frederico (2018): Covenants em Contratos de Financiamento de Longo Prazo: Uma Perspectiva Jurídica. p. 1385.

[5] Sobre a renegociação de covenants: “Vem aí a temporada de quebra de covenants” por Manuela Tecchio.

[6] Albanez, Tatiana (2020): Panorama dos covenants em contratos de dívida de empresas listadas na B3.  p. 17. FGV EAESP.

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