France: Where can you find information about the company in France?
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In this article, we will focus on the company information that is publicly available for companies registered in France.
What is the national register of companies in France called?
In France, information on companies is held by different organizations.
Infogreffe holds information on companies registered in the Trade and Companies Register with the Commercial Courts. You can access the Infogreffe site using the following link: https://www.infogreffe.com/
The National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) holds information on companies registered in the Trade and Companies Register with other jurisdictions (district courts competent in matters of commerce, mixed commercial courts in the departments and territories of ‘overseas). You can access the INPI website via the following link: https://www.inpi.fr/fr
The INPI site is only available in French and is mainly focused on intellectual property, the promotion of innovation and the protection of innovative ideas.
The Infogreffe site provides centralized access to information from the trade and company register. It is available in French and English and is therefore your best starting point for researching information on a French company.
What does Infogreffe cover in France?
Infogreffe was created in 1986 and its mission is to provide Internet access to data concerning companies.
According to the Infogreffe site, the files of more than 3.2 million French companies are available on the Infogreffe site. You can search the Infogreffe site for a company if you know the name of the company or its SIREN number (its identification number).
Infogreffe makes the following information on companies freely available to the general public:
- Summary sheets for companies, this includes the address of the company’s registered office, the commercial court with which the company is registered, the legal form of the company (see below), when the company has been registered for first time and its registration number. You will also see a summary of the main activities of the company and find out how many official documents have been filed for the company (but to view them you will have to pay a fee);
- Key company figures, this includes historical data related to turnover, profit / loss and headcount (but you will have to pay a fee to view the annual accounts themselves)
- Implementation of the follow-up of a named company. You can use Infogreffe to set up a tracker for a company and receive automatic alerts when an event occurs (this can be the filling of annual accounts, the opening of collective proceedings or a modification of the registration in the Register. of Commerce and Companies). You will have to pay a fee if you choose to view or order the documents mentioned in the alert; and
- Lists of statutes and acts of the company available against payment.
Infogreffe also allows businesses in France to register their business online and updates various formalities guides and downloadable forms and templates.
What other information is available?
Other information, held by Infogreffe, is available against payment of a fee as follows:
- certificates of incorporation;
- information on the company’s securities allowing an understanding of the level of indebtedness and the financial health of the company;
- detailed annual accounts including the balance sheet, income statement, accounts receivable and payable of the company;
- articles of association and acts of the company;
- the list, in chronological order, of significant events that have occurred during the life of the company; and
- information on bankruptcy, judicial liquidation or administrative procedures concerning the company.
What are the different types of companies in France?
The main commercial companies in France have one of the following structures:
- a SAS is a simplified joint stock company, that is to say a simplified joint stock company generally used by small and medium-sized enterprises;
- a SARL is a limited liability company, that is, a limited liability company again generally used by small and medium-sized enterprises; and
- a HER is a public limited company, that is, a classic joint stock company generally used by large companies.
These three structures offer their shareholders limited liability protection up to the amount of their participation.
It is also possible to register a SE(European Company), which means a public limited company registered in accordance with European Union company law. However, this is very rare in France and a current example is Christian Dior.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.
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