Societe Anonyme: Public Limited Company registration in France

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Societe Anonyme in France

A Public limited company refers to Societe Anonyme in France, which is a separate business entity. Public Limited Companies are usually intended for larger corporations as they allow the business to sell shares to the public market. Also, they need a considerable amount of capital. The amount needed for the Public Limited Company registration in France it is 37,000 euros. There must be at least seven shareholders if traded publicly. Also, there is no limit on the number of shareholders who will hold ownership rights to the organization, and the liability will be limited to the amount invested in the company.

The Societe Anonyme can sign contracts and also transfer properties. The Societe Anonyme in France acts as an independent legal entity and is obligated to be accountable if lawsuits are filed against it.

Features of Public Limited Company in France

If you are planning for Public Limited Company registration in France, then you should know that several primary features of the Societe Anonyme in France are mentioned as follows:


In Societe Anonyme in France, the ownership of the business is divided in the shares and shareholders will have the grasp on these shares to present their ownership stake.

Limited Liability

The shareholders have Limited liability as they will not be personally liable for the company's debts and obligations except for their investment in the company.


The capital will be raised by the company by issuing shares to private or public investors. The Funds attained from the sale of shares will be used for the finance purposes of the company activities.

Board of Directors

The Company has to be managed by the Board of Directors, which shareholders will elect. The board will be responsible for making significant decisions and overseeing the company's operations.

Shares Transferability

In many cases, the shares of the Societes Anonymes can be sold or freely transferred to others, which is subject to some legal restrictions.

Transparency and Disclosure

To make sure that there is transparency and accountability toward the shareholders and the public Limited company is subject to specific reporting and disclosure requirements.

How does a Public Limited company work?

The structure of a public limited company or societe anonyme in France is complex and is marked by the separation between management and shareholders. The key decisions are made in the shareholders' annual general meeting. The management is provided by the Board of Directors or the Management Board with the supervisory Board. The chairman of the board will play a main role in the decision-making process and company representation.

An important aspect of the governance of a Societe Anonyme in France is the auditor appointment. He will be responsible for verifying the regularity and sincerity of the company's accounts and for presenting the report to shareholders.

The CEO heads the general management, makes sure of the daily management, and implements the strategies that are said by the board of directors or the supervisory board. Making sure that there is a balance of power that is suitable for the larger companies. The organizational structure focuses on balancing power between the shareholders, directors, and management.

Advantages of the Societe Anonyme in France

If you are interested in Public Limited Company registration in France, then there are many advantages of the Societe Anonyme in France, some of which are mentioned as follows:

Fewer Shareholders Risk

The risk to shareholders is less since it is shared among the partners where the assets will be protected against the potential creditors. The partners can transfer freely and sell shares to the other shareholders inside the company after getting approval of transferability by the Board of Directors. This practice will allow the shareholders to profit from liquidity and easy management.

Ability to raise funds

The company can trade securities with the public and raise a good amount of funds needed for expansion. Commercial banks, which are more willing to lend financial loans to Societe Anonyme, which is listed on the stock exchange, will also depend on its creditworthiness. When you get listed on the stock exchange, it will make the company more accessible; therefore, it will increase the ability to raise the capital for expansion or funding.

Requirements of Societe Anonyme in France

The requirements of the Societe Anonyme in France or Public Limited Company registration in France will depend on laws and regulations, which can differ accordingly mentioned as follows:

  1. For the Public Limited Company registration in France, there should be at least seven shareholders if the company is a listed company who can be natural persons or the legal entities should be part of the founding team.
  2. The Limited liability of the shareholders will be to the extent of the invested capital, and it should be considered in the cases where financial responsibility will be needed to be assigned.
  3. Forming a board that comprises the directors who are responsible for significant decisions and operations is necessary.
  4. You will have to disclose the company's purpose, structure, and internal regulations, and the Articles of Association are important.
  5. Financial reporting, Auditing, and obedience to good corporate government practices are important.

Steps for Creating a Societe Anonyme in France

The steps which you have to follow to create a Societe Anonyme in France or a Public Limited Company registration in France are mentioned as follows:

Step 1- Draft the Statues

For the Public Limited Company registration in France, the statutes of the Societe Anonyme in France should be the subject of the written documents in which the following documents are mentioned:

  1. The form of the company, which is a Societe Anonyme
  2. The company names
  3. The head office address
  4. Social purpose
  5. Duration of the company
  6. Amount of the share capital
  7. Rules of profit sharing
  8. Supervisory bodies-related rules
  9. Mention of the shares registered or bearer

Step 2- Share capital deposit

The share capital of the Societe Anonyme in France should be deposited with the bank, lawyer, or notary until the company is created. The deposit certificate of the share capital will be given.

Step 3- Sign statutes by the first shareholders

The Societe Anonyme in France's founding shareholders must initial and sign the statutes of the company to start with the registration.

Step 4- Publish in a legal notice newspaper

When there is creation the limited company, then there should be the subject of publication in the legal notice newspaper, and the text of the ad should specify the information mentioned below:

  1. Company Name
  2. Legal Form
  3. Social capital
  4. Head office address
  5. Social purpose
  6. Company duration
  7. Name, first name, and addresses of the corporate managers and if there is any other person who has the power to company binding
  8. Date of Board of Directors, identity of directors, chairman of Board of Directors, and signing date of statutes
  9. Conditions of admission to shareholder meetings and exercise of voting rights
  10. If applicable, the contact details of the commissioner
  11. The competent court registry is responsible for registering the application.

Step 5- Tax Registration

For the process of Public Limited Company registration in France, the statutes should have been registered with the business tax services. Tax registration is an important step for any new business. It involves declaring the existence of the company to tax authorities and obtaining important tax identification numbers.

STEP 6- Capital deposit at Bank

The share capital has to be deposited in the blocked account in the name of the company which is being formed. The bank will also provide you with a capital deposit certificate to make sure that the company has the important financial resources for starting operations.

Step 7- Submit SA registration application file

After you have completed all the steps then you have to continue with an application for the Public limited company registration in France with the registry of the capable court.

The documents that will be included in this file will be as follows:

  1. Duly completed and signed creation form
  2. Beneficial owners’ declaration
  3. Statutes certified copies
  4. Manager’s identity documents copy
  5. The non-conviction director’s certificate
  6. The identity document of directors or members of the supervisory board copy
  7. The deposit of the share Capital certificate
  8. The publication certificate in the legal newspaper
  9. Company domiciliation proof
  10. The subscriber's list
  11. Act of appointment of general director and the minutes of appointment of the management board copy
  12. If applicable, an original of the contribution auditor's report
  13. The Check which should be payable to the court clerk to pay fees for filing

Step 8- Comply with Ongoing requirements

Once your SA registration is done you will have to meet the regulatory requirements such as annual general meetings, financial, etc.   

The Taxation of Profit in Societe Anonyme

The limited company is subjected to corporate tax. Nevertheless, the shareholders can also determine income tax (IR) under some conditions for the company, which is mentioned as follows:

  1. It should be less than five years old
  2. It should not be listed on the stock exchange
  3. The employs should be fewer than 50 employees
  4. There should be an annual turnover of less than 10 million euros
  5. Voting rights of more than 50% belong to individuals, which includes at least 34% of the manager

Taxations of the Leaders

In the Societe Anonyme in France, the taxation of the directors will depend on their particular role in the company, which is as mentioned as follows:

Chairman and Managing Director

For the chairman of the Board of Directors and the Managing Director, the remuneration will be subject to the tax regime for the salaries and wages. This remuneration is deductible from the company’s profits and taxable for the income tax (IR) for those who are concerned.


The activity for the remuneration within the Board, directors will receive a fixed annual sum which is allocated by the general meeting. Among the directors, the distribution of this sum will be determined by the board of directors. The amount that is paid will be deductible from the company's profit. The category in which they are taxable is movable income, which is also subject to a single flat rate levy (PFU).


The Shareholders obtain the dividends that will fall in the class of income from movable capital. Dividends will be automatically taxed on the single flat levy of 30% which includes 12.8% for the income tax and 17.2% for the social security. Shareholders will opt for taxation on the income tax scale.

The transmission of the Societe Anonyme

In principle there is free transfer of the shares in the Societe Anonyme in France the laws don’t provide for any approval process. The shares of the company are easily transferable and tradable, the shareholders can easily enter or leave the company.

Although the statutes of the company can include specific clauses for the restriction of the transfers:

Approval clause

It will allow the share transfer to be the subject of the agreement of the shareholders, consistently or by the majority of them. Societe Anonyme in France, the approval clause has a restricted scope it will only be able to cover the transfers of shares to the shareholders and the third parties outside the company. Therefore, the transfer to spouses and ascendants will remain free.

Pre-emption clause

It will offer the targeted shareholder a priority right to buy back the shares that another shareholder will plan to sell. Therefore, the transfer of shareholders is indebted to offer the shares to the beneficiary shareholder before any transference.

Recording Rights

The rise in the payment of registration fees to the tax administration will be caused by the transfer of shares. The price of the tax amounts to 0.1% of the transfer price. For companies with a preponderance of real estate, the rate increases to 5%, which is to say that for companies where more than half of the assets are made up of buildings that are not assigned to professional operations,

Social regime of the Societe Anonyme

The general director of the Societe Anonyme in France is measured as an employee. Therefore, it is related to the general Social Security system. He will profit from the same social protection as the employee, apart from unemployment insurance. If the directors are not remunerated for the corporate office, then they will not be attached to any social system. Also, some corporate mandates with employment contracts in the Societe Anonyme under some conditions.

The creation of the public limited company represents the real investment. It will be generally preferred to be accompanied by professionals to guarantee the good management of the company.

Board Meeting Requirements of Societe Anonyme

The Board of Directors should meet at least once a year, according to the bylaws and the French commercial code, for the closure of the annual accounts and to convene the shareholders meeting called for the approval of the annual accounts. The executive board should also meet at least once a year to close the annual accounts and convene shareholders' meetings. The supervisory board should meet at least four times per year for the Societe Anonyme in France.

Societe Anonyme Governance Structure

The governance of Societe Anonyme in France is structured to make sure that there is a clear distribution of responsibilities and a balance between the various stakeholders. The governance of Societe Anonyme in France will be organized following the two main models which are the monist system with the board of directors and the dualist system with the management board and supervisory board.

Below, it is explained how each one of these systems will structure the governance.

Monistic System (Board)

In the Monistic system, the governance is confirmed by the single body of the board of directors:

Board of Directors

There are 3 to 18 members, and the Board of Directors has the overall accountability for the direction and inspection of the company. The Board of Directors makes strategic verdicts and manages the company.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

The Chief Executive Officer who may be the chairman of the board will direct the daily affairs of the company and present the company to the third party. The Chief Executive Officer has the dual role of the chairman of the board and general manager.

General Meeting of Shareholders

The Company's supreme body is the general meeting of the shareholders, which will form the major decisions, approve annual accounts, appoint and discharge the directors and auditors, and decide on the distribution of the dividends.

Dual System (Management board and supervisory board)

In this system, there are separate management and supervisory functions in the two distinct bodies:

Management Board

The Management Board is composed of members who are appointed by the supervisory board, and the management board will be held responsible for the daily management of the company. The management board members will be held responsible for the implementation strategies and management operations.

Supervisory Board

The supervisory board has an administrative control role over the management Board. The supervisory board will check the management of the company and will report to the shareholders at the general meeting.

Chairman of Management Board

In this, the person will be held responsible for leading the management board. He will also have to represent the company in outward relations, which will be handled by the supervisory board.

General meeting of shareholders

This holds the ultimate power over the major decisions and company strategy.

In both systems, the auditor plays a crucial role. The auditors are independent of the Board of Directors or the management board and will be held accountable for auditing the company's accounts.

In Societe Anonyme in France, governance is therefore designed to balance the interests of the shareholders, managers, and stakeholders, which will ensure that the company is responsible and transparent in its management.

Finance Work in Societe Anonyme in France

The Public Limited Company is the legal structure that allows businesses to raise capital and manage the finance flexibly.

Through the issuance of shares or bonds and bank financing, the Capital is mobilized mainly. For the Societe Anonyme in France, financial management involves the prudent management of the company’s assets, liabilities, and equity.

The choice of investments, cash flow management, financing operations, and compliance with the applicable financial regulations are included in the financial decisions.

And related to the dividend distribution, which will depend on the company's dividend policy, profitability, and capital needs. Dividends are mostly paid to the shareholders at the Annual General Meeting. Also, the term of dividend distribution will differ depending on the legal status of the company and the in-force legislation.

Setup Public Limited Company in France with Enterslice

We at Enterslice offer you services for the formation of a Public Limited company in France. Enterslice is one of the leading consultancy firms that offers you tailor-made services to meet your business needs. Enterslice will provide you with business setup services in France, and our team will assist you in the process of public limited company registration in France and opening a bank account for your business with post-registration compliance. Our consultants will make a strategic plan for the establishment and operation of the business.

Our Legal experts will provide you with legal advice on business operations, finances, IP protections, etc. We will also draft the necessary legal papers for your business and will review the needed paperwork. Enterslice will provide you with services that are efficient and cost-friendly with less time than your company setup of Societe Anonyme in France will be done. Let's start today with Enterslice.

Frequently Asked Questions

The dividend distributions are decided by the shareholders at a general meeting. Whatever profit is made by the Company from that, the Dividends are paid to the shareholders following the laws and statutes.

The dissolution of the Societe Anonyme is the legal process that will end the existence of the Company. The Societe Anonyme will dissolve with the decision of the shareholder's general meeting by judicial liquidation or when there is a Bankruptcy.

The Societe Anonyme should fulfil the legal responsibilities for accounting, financial disclosure, and holding annual general meetings. It should also meet the requirements of current tax and commercial regulations.

The main and most noticeable difference between the SARL and SA is the number of shareholders. The SARL can be formed by a single person, but for Societe Anonyme, you will need at least seven members.

The PLC is a business that is legally allowed to sell its shares to the public.

Societe Anonyme in the US is equivalent to corporations, and it has similar attributes.

The limited companies in France are called SARL, which is Societe A Responsabilite Limitee.

The Societe Anonyme in France is the French term that refers to the Public Limited Company. The shareholders of the SA will be liable to the limit of their contribution.

The limited companies are designed for small and medium-sized companies with fewer partners whereas the Societe Anonyme in France is better for activities where a larger number of shareholders are needed to achieve higher level of capital.

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