European companies—an introduction [Archived]
European companies—an introduction [Archived]

The following Corporate practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • European companies—an introduction [Archived]
  • What is a European company?
  • Applicable law
  • Formation of an SE
  • The structure of an SE
  • The two-tier system
  • The one-tier system
  • Rules common to both one-tier and two-tier SEs
  • UK boards of directors and the one-tier or two-tier SE structure
  • Share capital and shareholders
  • More...

This Practice Note is currently archived and is no longer maintained or updated.

The availability of the Societas Europaea (SE) in the UK has been significantly impacted by Brexit. Any SE still registered in the UK at the end of transition period automatically converts into a UK Societas within the meaning of Council Regulation 2157/2001/EC of 8 October 2001 on the Statute of a European Company (see The European Public Limited-Liability Company (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018, SI 2018/1298). It can then remain as a UK Societas, be wound up or converted to a UK public company. UK branches of SEs registered in an EU member state will have to comply with the Overseas Company Regulations from 1 January 2021. For further details see Practice Note: Brexit—European entities.

What is a European company?

A European company, otherwise known as a Societas Europaea or SE, is a body corporate that may be formed within the Europe Union. Once formed, it has its own legal personality. An SE is registered in the member state in which it has its head office, but has European-wide recognition and status.

An SE is a public limited liability company governed by the law of the member state in which it has its registered office. It must have a share capital, and a minimum amount of that share capital must be subscribed for (see Share capital

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