The company formation procedure in France is usually based on document gathering and other procedures such as drafting the articles of association, the specimen signatures, affidavits and other special forms, as well as performing public notary procedures and certified translations. Usually, a French registered office is also required for starting a company in France in order to have a mailing address to communicate to the partners and French authorities. Opening a bank account and hiring a local accountant are also required for setting up a company in France.
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A SA (societe anonime) is a form of business established for major businesses and must be formed by at least seven members, corporate bodies or individuals. It is mandatory that at least one member is an individual. The minimum share capital of this business is 37,000 EUR (from which at least half must be deposited at registration and the other half in maximum five years). The management is assured by a board of directors with three to 18 members appointed by the highest instance in the company, the general meeting of the shareholders. Unlike the private limited liability companies, the appointment of an statutory auditor is mandatory.
Another form of business is the French SAS (societe par actions simplifiees) formed by at least one member. There is a minimum share capital of 37,000 EUR. The management of such company is assured by at least one director and the appointment of an auditor is mandatory only if one of the following conditions is met: the company has more than 20 employees, the pre-tax turnover exceeds two million EUR or the total balance sheet exceeds one million EUR.
The SNC (societe en nom collectif) is a form of business formed by at least two partners with no minimum share capital. The particularity of this type of business is that the partners are liable in extend of their personal assets for the entity’s liabilities.
The SCS (société en commandite simple) is formed by a general partner and a silent partner. The silent partner is providing capital and it is considered liable only in extend of that capital, while the general partner doesn’t provide any capital and he is considered liable even with its own assets for the entity’s liabilities. The major decisions are taken by the general partner, while the silent partner cannot take part of the management.
The SEL (société d'exercice libéral) is a rare form of business established by professionals in order to allow those to exercise their professional activity in the form of companies.
The EURL (entreprise unipersonnelle a responsabilité limitée) is a hybrid between a limited liability company and a partnership which doesn’t require a minimum share capital and with the personal assets of the owners not protected in case the company has outstanding debts.
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