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Company Formation France



The French Trade Registry

Updated on Thursday 16th January 2020

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Starting a business in France implies several steps, among which the preparation of specific documents and their filing with the authority in charge with the company registration procedure. The main authority handling the company formation procedure in France is the Trade Register. However, this is not the only agency which deals with company incorporation matters in this country.
The French Companies Register has several functions which are explained below by our local consultants. Our French company formation consultants can explain the requirements related to the registration of a company with the Trade Register.

Legislation governing the French Trade Register

The Trade Registry in France is also known as Registre de Commerce et des Sociétés. The French Registry of Commerce and Companies is regulated by the Act of December 19, 2002, and falls under the authority of the Ministry of Justice. The State Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Trade are entitled to manage the Trade Register in France. The French Trade Register deals with both company registration and sole traders’ registration. As far as persons are regarded, information such as full name, address, date, and place of birth are included in the database of the Trade RegistryCompany registration with the French Trade Register includes company name, social capital, date of incorporation, initial capital, governing bodies.

The main company registration centers in France

As mentioned above, there are several centers which handle the procedure of opening a company in France. These are:
  1. the Chamber of Commerce and Industry which is in charge with the registration of businesses operating in various commercial fields;
  2. the Chamber of Crafts and Craftsmen which is charge with the registration of individuals completing various crafts;
  3. the URSSAF which the agency in charge with the issuance of various licenses for freelancers and other liberal professions;
  4. the Chamber of Agriculture which is in charge with the issuance of licenses for companies in agriculture;
  5. the Greffe which is the agency in charge with the registration of commercial agents in France.
Before registering with any of the agencies above, the selected business form must be incorporated with the French Trade Registry.
If you plan to open a company in France and need representation in order to register the business with the Trade Register, our consultants can act as your local agents. We will only need a power of attorney in order to complete any action on your behalf.

The main functions of the Trade Register in France

Even if the main activity of the Companies Register in France implies the incorporation of the businesses, it also has other functions. Among these, any changes brought to a company need to be reported with the Trade Register, case in which the personnel here will update the information requested. The staff of the Registrar will also review the documents submitted and return any document which does not comply with the legal requirements imposed by specific regulations, including those of the Company Law.
The company liquidation procedure must also be reported with the Trade Register which will be in charge with recording all the stages of the procedure and completing it by deleting the company from its records.
Another function of the French Trade Register is related to completing company searches. Also known as company due diligence, these searches can reveal important information about existing companies.
The French Trade Registry is the main database of all companies registered in France.
Our French company formation specialists can offer more information on the Companies Register.

How can a company register with the French Trade Register?

Company registration in France with the French Trade Register is a mandatory procedure for all companies set up in France. The Commercial Court receives the application forms for company registration in France. Also, since 2005, company registration in France can be performed by electronic means. Company registration in France is completed when a certificate of incorporation is issued.
The changes brought to the company management are also registered with the French Trade Register. If there are any changes in the directors’ board, shareholder information, headquarters or share cession, these must be sent to the Trade Register and mentioned in the database, which must be updated.
You can read about the French Trade Register in the scheme below:


Company registration documents in France

The following documents must be filed with the Companies Registrar when opening a company in France:
  • ⁻ personal information about the shareholders and the directors of the company;
  • ⁻ the company’s memorandum and articles of association which must be drafted and notarized;
  • ⁻ the application form issued by the Trade Register which must be filled in;
  • ⁻ the application with the previously approved trade name of the company.
We can assist with the drafting of the company’s constitutive documents.

How can I have access to the French Trade Register?

Information in the French Trade Register is available for anyone who submits a special request. It is one the French Trade Register’s characteristics to offer details about the memorandum of association, certificates, balance sheets, collective actions and other information. Individuals who want to have access to these details in the database of the French Trade Register can ask for copies of certain documents or search through registered companies.
The company search can be completed by:
  • - entering the company’s trade name or registration number, if the applicant knows it;
  • - entering the company’s address, the name of directors or of the administrators;
  • - entering the name of the city where the company has its headquarters or administration seat;
  • - entering the company’s SIREN number (the unique identification code issued by the Trade Register).
We can also complete the registration of a company with the Trade Register in France.

The Trade Register extract in France

The main document issued by the Companies Register upon the registration of a company is the KBIS extract which represents de ‘identification document’ of the company incorporated in France. The KBIS contains all the information and changes made in a company, as well as notes entered by the staff of the Trade Register on a company.

Company liquidation with the Companies Register in France

As mentioned above, not only the commencement of a business needs to be reported to the Trade Registrar, but also its cessation. The company liquidation procedure must be announced to the Companies House as soon as the shareholders have made the decision and have recorded it in the minutes of the meeting held for this purpose. This requirement applies in case of voluntary company liquidation in France. In case of compulsory liquidation, the decision issued by the French court must be filed with the Registrar. Once the decision recorded with the Trade Register the company must append the words ‘in liquidation’ to the company’s trading name.
Once the company liquidation procedure is terminated, the French Companies Register will delete the business from its database.
We can also assist in company liquidation matters in France, should you need any help.

Why open a business in France?

France is one of the most important economies of the European Union, and according to the OCED:
  • - for 2019 and 2020, the French economy is expected to register a growth of 1.3% on an annual basis;
  • - private consumption is also expected to grow 1.5% in 2019, respectively by 1.4% in 2020;
  • - exports of goods and services are predicted to grow by 2.3% in 2019 and by 2.7% in 2020;
  • - the unemployment rate is expected to decrease to 8.7% in 2019 from the 9.1% recorded in 2018.
For more details about the French Trade Registry and how to open a company in France, you may contact our company formation agents in France.


Meet us in Paris

Call us now at +33 9 73 22 01 51 to set up an appointment with our lawyers in Paris, France. Alternatively you can incorporate your company without traveling to France.

As a BridgeWest client, you will beneficiate from the joint expertize of local lawyers and international consultants. Together we will be able to offer you the specialized help you require for your business start-up in France.



Starting a company in France can be difficult since it involves such complex procedures. The team from CompanyFormationFrance is very qualified and benefits from extensive expertise in this area.
Mihai Cuc, Partner of
Enescu & Cuc Law Firm
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