In Switzerland, the term dividend rights certificate (German: Genussschein, French: Bon de jouissance) denotes a profit participation certificate which can be issued by a company to its stakeholders. Dividend rights certificates entitle their holders to dividend distributions. They can be issued by any Swiss company regardless of its category.
In addition to dividend entitlements, companies may – at their discretion – include further entitlements in dividend rights certificates. Entitlements may include claims to liquidated assets in the event of company bankruptcy and entitlements to dividends in kind such as limited complimentary access to the services or goods provided by the issuing company.
In order to issue dividend rights certificates, provision must be made for this in the company’s articles of association. Once issued, changes to the rights granted by dividend rights certificate can only be made with the consent of certificate holders.
Dividend rights certificates may be issued to founders, employees, creditors, shareholders or other individuals or entities which hold a stake in the issuing company. The company may state which stakeholders are eligible to obtain dividend rights certificates in their certificate’s terms and conditions.
Unlike Swiss participation certificates (German: Partizipationsschein, French: Bon de participation), dividend participation certificates do not have face values. They cannot be issued to non-stakeholders as a means of raising capital.
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