Next year, Spanish companies will be forced to address a radical change in their supplier payment culture if they do not want to be exposed to sanctions that, together, would exceed 10 billion euros. The cause is in the community regulation that will limit the practice of delaying payments, by setting a maximum period of 30 days to respond to your invoices and establishing sanctions.
The rule, promoted by the European Commission, will be put to a vote on April 22 in the European Parliament, after which it will automatically come into force. Not only does it set a maximum payment period of 30 days, but it establishes late payment interest of 8 points plus the price of money, that is, 12.5%. Its application is mandatory and automatic, without the need for the supplier to request it or the possibility of being modified, as is the case with directives.
In a press conference, the president of the Multisector Platform against Late Payments (PMcM), Antoni Cañete, indicated that, according to the platform's latest data, listed companies, which, being larger and having more power, tend to take longer , postpone payments of more than 82,000 million euros per year. This figure is annual and would result in a penalty of more than 10,000 million in terms of late payment interest, although the penalties would be higher since the amount is calculated on delays greater than 60 days, which is what Spanish law allows, and not of 30 days, as the EU will set.
The regulation is immediately applicable and, unlike directives, does not require transposition nor can it be modified. "It will have to be transposed as is, not a single comma will be able to be changed" and it also establishes that "all EU countries must establish a competent authority to guarantee that it is complied with," says Cañete. "De facto, it is a sanctioning regulation."
The PMcM calculates, with data from the Bank of Spain, that companies listed in Spain pay on average within 120 days, doubling the legal period of 60 days in Spain and quadrupling the one established by the EU. "Listed companies get paid on average in 61 days, but do not pay up to 120," denounces Cañete.
Pere Brachfield, socio director of Brachfield
The regulation, already presented and approved by the European Commission, is in the public hearing phase. The amendment period will end on December 12, with the aim of the rule being put to a vote in the European Parliament on April 22.
A report from Informa D
Leticia Poole, professor of Economics at the European University of Valencia, warns that "there is a tendency to abuse a dominant position because large clients have the ability to establish longer payment periods." "The problem is that late payments generate late payments; one does not pay because another has not paid you, which creates a vicious circle to which a quarter of bankruptcies in Europe are attributed."
According to him, if the EU has had to resort to a regulation and not a directive, it is because the second of these formulas "had not been applied homogeneously in all countries." Furthermore, until now no automatic late payment interest penalties were established.
Cañete assures that in Spain the rule has been stopped because "there is a very important movement of interests, which are doing extraordinary lobbying" to prevent these limitations from succeeding. He aims directly at the commerce and construction sectors.