How do you determine the amount of your company's share capital?

Share capital is the amount contributed by the company's associates or shareholders. The minimum amount is set at one euro, except for public limited companies (sociétés anonymes), for which it must be at least 37,000 euros, and for one-person limited companies (entreprises unipersonnelles à responsabilité limitée - EURL), which can freely define and set this amount.

Share capital, an essential and compulsory part of setting up a business

Setting up and depositing share capital is mandatory when creating a company.

Share capital serves as the basis or key for distributing power within the company. The voting rights of associates or shareholders at general meetings are determined in proportion to the amount of share capital held. It can also be used to offset temporary losses incurred by a company with insufficient equity capital, preventing it from defaulting on payments.

Two main forms of contribution

The contributions can be of different kinds.

Cash contributions

They correspond to the funds invested by shareholders in the company. In return, they receive shares in the company.

Contributions in kind

The company may also receive contributions in kind from one or more partners. Examples include real estate, goodwill and patents.

Lastly, associates may make industrial contributions, making available to the company their technical knowledge, labor or services. While these contributions do not contribute to the company's capital, they do give rise to the granting of shares entitling the holder to share in profits and vote at general meetings.

Starting a business

How do you set your share capital?

The minimum share capital varies according to the type of company.

It amounts to :

  • 1 euro for SARL, SAS, SASU, SNC or EURL ;
  • 37,000 euros for corporations ;
  • 18,500 for SA cooperatives.

It is not necessary to pay the entire share capital at the time of incorporation. Payment can be spread over time, with a minimum of 20% for SARLs and 50% for SAs and SASs.

Having a large share capital helps to reassure financial partners. However, some companies may have an interest in building up a small amount of share capital. This is the case, for example, for family businesses that do not wish to welcome investors, or for entrepreneurs whose business only requires the acquisition of a computer. These companies can reinforce their financial credibility by dividing the sum between share capital and a partner's current account. Similarly, fast-growing companies welcoming new investors can choose to divide their share capital into shares instead of increasing it, thus making the entry ticket more affordable.