Invest in France
There a many reasons for companies to establish themselves in France: a qualified workforce, an attractive tax system, support for innovation and research… A springboard to the rest of Europe, with low set-up costs, France is home to more than 20,000 foreign companies employing a total of more than 2 million people.
The top European region for investment in research and development, the Île-de-France provides the necessary means for the emergence of innovative companies.
Foreign investment in France is, in principal, free from administrative control. Regardless of your development strategy, you will be able to find the legal method in France that is best suited to your type of business. Investors can implement this method temporarily or for the long-term, in full legal certainty, thus enabling them to develop their project freely and simply, in an inexpensive way.
SIMPLE STEPS FOR FOREIGN INVESTORS
If you are acquiring at least 10% of the capital or voting rights of a resident company, or if, through an investment, you cross this threshold and will subsequently own more than 10% of a company’s capital or voting rights: for statistical purposes, a declaration will be made in your capacity as non-resident to the Banque de France when the amount concerned by these operations surpasses 15 million euros.
A declaration (simple or administrative) must be made to the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance (Direction Générale du Trésor, the Treasury department) concerning the operations involved in the creation of a new business when the investment surpasses 1.5 million euros and, generally speaking, concerning the acquisition (no minimal amount) of all or part of a branch of activity and the direct or indirect takeover (or any other operation) of the capital of a company governed by French law that has agreed to hand over more than a third of its capital or voting rights (except if the investor already owns more than 50% of the French company).
Prior approval is required in specific cases: as in numerous other countries, if your investment concerns certain acquisition operations that are considered “sensitive”, then approval is required.
OPERATIONS REQUIRING APPROVAL
The acquisition of the “control” of a French company (majority of voting rights) as well as the acquisition of all or part of a branch of activity by a foreign investor.
If you are an investor from a country that is not a member of the European Union and that is from outside of the European Economic Area, approval is also required for all investments that will lead to said investor owning more than 33.3% of the capital or voting rights of a French company (except if the investor has already received the approval to take control of the company.
Approval is granted within two month.
THE SETORS REQUIRING PRIOR APPROVAL
Investments made from EU Member States:
- Private security;
- Activities related to the methods of dealing with the illicit use of pathogenic or toxic agents and agents that are prohibited in order to support the fight against chemical weapons;
- Activities that involve equipment designed to intercept communication
- Activities involving the assessment and certification of security in information technology;
- The production of goods or the provision of services in the security domain for the information systems sector;
- Dual-use goods and technologies
Investments made from non-EU Member States:
The activities mentioned above, in addition to the following:
Gambling (excluding casinos)
Cryptographic equipment relating to the digital economy
Companies entrusted with national defence information
The trading of weapons, ammunition and explosive powders and substances for military or war purposes
Companies that have signed a contract agreeing to examine or supply equipment for the Ministry of Defence or its subcontractors