Corporate law in France

We advise German, Austrian and Swiss companies and their branches in France on all aspects of French corporate law. We can provide consulting services in German, French or English.

There are a number of practical differences between German, Austrian and Swiss law on the one hand and French law on the other, which could be important in the context of cross-border business activities. This is why it is essential to promptly seek competent legal advice in French law in order to clarify all of the legal and practical issues in France.

In addition to legal consulting, our German-French team with intercultural experience will also offer you practical support for your projects in France in the following areas:

Services relating to French Corporate Law

  • Formation and winding up of a French subsidiary (in particular in the form of a limited liability company under French law (SARL), a classic public stock corporation under French law (SA) or a simplified joint-stock company under French law (SAS)) or a branch (succursale) of your company in France
  • Amendments to the articles of association of a French company, such as transfer of the registered office within France or to another EU country, increase or reduction of the share capital of a French company
  • Appointment and dismissal of management bodies (directors/board of directors) of a French company, including management contracts and by-laws under French law
  • Conversion of French companies (in particular conversion of a French limited liability company (SARL) into a French simplified joint-stock company (SAS))
  • Joint venture agreements in France (partnership/shareholder agreements (pacte d’associés/d’actionnaires))
  • Sworn and unsworn translations of German and French documents

Did you know that in France…

  • French companies can be incorporated or wound up and their articles of association can be amended without the involvement of a notary?
  • a simplified joint-stock company governed by French law (société par actions simplifiée – SAS) is now the most widely used company form? The background to this is that there is greater flexibility in structuring this French company form than the French limited liability company (société à responsabilité limitée - SARL). Partnerships such as the French general partnership (société en nom collectif – SNC) do not play a significant role in French business life. French law does not provide for an equivalent to the concept of a GmbH & Co KG, which is widespread in Germany.
  • the statutory minimum capital requirement (EUR 37,000) is now only required for the classic French public stock corporation (SA)?
  • the minutes of shareholder resolutions concerning the increase or reduction in the capital of a French company must be registered with the French tax authorities before the appropriate administrative formalities can be carried out with the French commercial register?
  • in contrast with German law on limited liability companies, the articles of association of a French SARL cannot stipulate an obligation on the shareholders to make additional contributions?
  • auditors are appointed for 6 years? If the appointment is made voluntarily, i.e. without being legally binding, the appointment may be limited to a period of 3 years?
  • the managing directors of a French company may, under certain conditions, combine their directorship with an employment contract?
  • the by-laws of a French company and, in particular, restrictions on the powers of its managing director (by listing transactions requiring approval) have no effect external to the company?
  • under French law, the winding up, without liquidation, of a company of which a legal person is the sole shareholder, is effected by a decision to wind up the company followed by universal succession?
  • there is no provision for a restrictive year between the decision to wind up a French company and the end of its liquidation?

Our German-French Team for Corporate Law in France

Avocat - Of Counsel
Joan Kinder