France Company Formation

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Company Formation and Related Services



Buying a European shelf company with VAT number

Whenever you need to start doing business immediately in a European country and you need a company with a VAT number, you don’t have to wait for the bureaucratic procedures.

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Partner Law Firms

We encourage you to contact our partner law firms in Bucharest: Rolegal and E&C, both part of our legal network.

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Tax Minimization Structures

BridgeWest is specialized in special corporate structures designed for tax minimization. No matter where you want to incorporate your company, you will need to consider how you can legally minimize costs.

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Setting up a Joint Stock Company (Société Anonyme) in France

September 10, 2011, 8:42 pm

Joint stock corporations are very common in France and they are known as Société Anonyme or SA. The French Joint Stock Companies are preferred by foreign investors who want to set up a larger business.


The minimum capital required for setting up a SA in France is 37,000 EUR. At least 50% of the initial capital must be paid before the formation of the Joint Stock Company and the rest within five years. The capital of a SA is divided into shares and the shareholders have their liability limited by the capital contribution. Contributions are accepted either in cash or in assets and intellectual property. The latter have to be evaluated by an expert appraiser appointed by the Commercial Court.


There have to be at least seven shareholders in order to start a Joint Stock Corporation in France. There is no maximum of partners and there are no restrictions regarding their nationality or residence. Voting rights and rights to profit are proportional to the amount of capital shares owned. The shareholders of a French SA meet in an Ordinary General Meeting six months before the end of each fiscal year in order to assess and approve the annual accounts of the company. An Extraordinary General Meeting of shareholders is required whenever there is the necessity of changing articles of incorporation.


The management structure of a Joint Stock Company in France can be either formed of a general manager and a Board of Directors or a Directorate and a Supervisory Council. The first form is usually preferred. In this case, the general manager is appointed by the Board of Directors, which consists of 3 to 18 directors, elected at a General Meeting of shareholders. Directors must be appointed for less than three years. If the other type of management structure is chosen for the French SA, the Supervisory Council has to be formed of shareholders who appoint and supervise the members of the Directorate. The Directorate is made up of two to five members, who may not be shareholders. One member of the Directorate is sufficient if the company’s capital does not exceed 150,000 EUR. 


Shareholders have to appoint a statutory auditor and a deputy statutory auditor every six years. The auditor has to issue financial reports regarding the transactions of the French SA.

Other requirements

Shareholders have responsibilities that can be extended to their personal property if the authorities consider that they have managed the company in a bad way.

BridgeWest offers assistance for setting up a company in France, including virtual office and other related services.

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Company Formation in France


Setting up a company in France can be done in a short amount of time and implies low costs.

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Lawyers in France


BridgeWest provides a wide range of legal services in France through our affiliated French lawyers and Law Firms in Paris and other major cities in France. We are mainly specialized in the main aspects of French Commercial Law, including Company F ... [More]