Foreign investors have multiple choices when expanding their businesses in other countries and Belgium is one of the countries that provide several types of companies and ways to expand a business. Entrepreneurs can opt for virtual offices, a representative or a branch office and to register a new company. While virtual offices, branches and representative offices have their advantages the most common way of opening a business in Belgium remains the incorporation of a new business entity.
Types of companies in Belgium
Foreign investors can choose from the several types of companies the structure that best fits their needs. Investors can choose from the following types of companies:
- the private limited liability company (societe prive a responsabilite limitee,SPRL/BVBA) that requires a start-up share capital of 18,550 EUR and one third of it or 6,200 EUR must be paid upon registration. The Belgian SPRL can have at least one shareholder, in which case the minimum paid in share capital must be 12,400 EUR, or more shareholders.
- the public limited company (societe anonime, SA/NV) requires at least two shareholders, a management board that must be formed by at least two directors and a minimum share capital of 61,500 EUR.
- the limited cooperative that requires at least three shareholders and a minimum share capital of 18,500 EUR.
- partnerships that can be general, limited or limited by shares;
- branches or representative offices.
The Articles of Association of a company in Belgium
The most important document when registering a company in Belgium is the Memorandum or Articles of Association of the company as they must contain all the relevant data about the company. The Articles of Association must state the following:
- the selected types of company;
- the name of the company and the registered office (Belgian companies are required by law to maintain a registered office);
- the capital and shareholding structure of the company;
- the activities the company will undertake;
- when the financial year starts and ends;
- rules of the general meeting of the shareholders;
- who the management board members are and their duties.
The Articles of Association of a company must be drafted and signed in front of a Belgian notary public.
The registration process of a company in Belgium
Once the Articles of Association have been prepared, the investor can proceed to the next steps of the incorporation process:
- 20% of the initial share capital must be deposited in a capital bank account; the bank will issue a statement saying the amount is blocked;
- draft a financial plan with a notary;
- register the company with the Belgian Company Register;
- register for taxation purposes and social security;
- obtain a company identification number.
Obtaining the company identification number in Belgium
The company identification number in Belgium is an identification means which helps businesses to:
• - exchange information between legal entities and the Belgian authorities;
• - aid in the electronic information transfers which is used by the e-government.
In order to diminish the charges for companies that are already opened, the local authorities took the decision to change the old VAT ID number into the company identification number, rather than introducing an entirely new one.
Why register a company in Belgium?
Foreign entrepreneurs choose to register a company in Belgium for several reasons.
Firstly, the local economy is one of the most developed in Europe. Also, investors are attracted to this market because the regulatory system is extremely effective and transparent here. The costs involving opening a company in Belgium
are low and the time frame involving a company registration here is less than five days. Our lawyers in Belgium
can offer more details regarding these aspects.
The high life standards and the development procedure of the business environment make Belgium one of the most profitable countries to do business in throughout the European Union. The international trading relationships between Belgium and other numerous countries are continuing to develop, therefore offering profitable opportunities for investors looking to register a Belgian company.
If you want to register company and need details about the incorporation process you can contact our Belgian lawyers.