Société Anonyme


DEFINITION of 'Société Anonyme '

A French term for a public limited company, abbreviated S.A. A société anonyme is the equivalent of a corporation in the United States, a public limited company (plc) in the United Kingdom or an Aktiengesellschaft (AG) in Germany. This type of business structure establishes a company as a legal person that can own and transfer property, enter contracts and be held liable for crimes. One of its key benefits is that is limits the owner’s personal liability for the company’s actions.

BREAKING DOWN 'Société Anonyme '

The société anonyme is a popular business structure with equivalents in many other languages and countries. For example, in Spanish, it is called a sociedad anónima, in Italian, it is referred to as a società anonima and in Portuguese it is called a sociedade anônima. In all cases, a company designated S.A. protects its owners’ personal assets against claims by creditors, which makes many individuals more willing to start companies since it limits their risk. The S.A. structure also makes it easier to meet a growing business’s capital needs since numerous investors can contribute large or small amounts of money as shareholders if the company opts for public ownership. The S.A. is thus a key component of a robust capitalist economy.

An S.A. is subject to different tax regulations than a sole proprietorship or partnership, and, in the case of a public S.A., different accounting and auditing requirements. In addition, all S.A.s must meet certain basic legal requirements. To be valid, a société anonyme must have articles of incorporation, a board of directors and a unique name. Other regulatory requirements vary by country. In Belgium, for example, an S.A. must be funded with at least €61,500 (as of 2014) and have at least two partners. In Costa Rica, nonresidents can start an S.A. without a Costa Rican partner. There are typically fees, which vary by location, for completing the various legal steps for forming an S.A.

Well-known companies that are established as S.A.s include Nestle, Anheuser-Busch InBev and L’Oreal.

  1. Public-Private Partnerships

    A business relationship between a private-sector company and ...
  2. Articles Of Partnership

    A document that formalizes an agreement between parties who want ...
  3. Public Limited Company - PLC

    The standard legal designation of a company which has offered ...
  4. Limited Partnership - LP

    Two or more partners united to conduct a business jointly, and ...
  5. Limited Liability Company - LLC

    A corporate structure whereby the members of the company cannot ...
  6. Partnership

    A business organization in which two or more individuals manage ...
Related Articles
  1. Entrepreneurship

    Identifying And Managing Business Risks

    There are a lot of risks associated with running a business, but there are an equal number of ways to prepare for and manage them.
  2. Entrepreneurship

    How To Create A Business Succession Plan

    Make sure the business you built continues to thrive long after you've left the helm.
  3. Retirement

    Discover Master Limited Partnerships

    These unique investments provide significant tax advantages.
  4. Insurance

    Disability Insurance For Business Owners

    If you become injured and no longer able to work, would your business survive?
  5. Entrepreneurship

    Crisis Management Strategies For Business Owners

    When a PR problem arises, your company will be judged on how you handle it. Are you ready?
  6. Entrepreneurship

    4 Steps To Creating A Stellar Business Plan

    If you're going into business, you must have a plan. Find out how to put this important document together.
  7. Options & Futures

    Asset Protection For The Business Owner

    Could incorporating your business help protect it? Find out here.
  8. Options & Futures

    Starting A Small Business In Tough Economic Times

    We provide 6 tips for creating a winning business in a losing economy.
  9. Taxes

    Why Delaware is the Most Business-Friendly State

    Incorporating your company in Delaware may give you the logistical, structural and judicial leg up you need to help your firm's chances of success.
  10. Entrepreneurship

    Taxes in New York for Small Business: The Basics

    Learn how small businesses are taxed in New York, and understand how tax rates vary based on whether the business is an S corporation, LLC or partnership.
  1. I am starting a limited liability company (LLC). I will be the sole member. Can I ...

    In a word, yes. A limited liability company (LLC) is eligible to establish a simplified employee pension (SEP). Keep in ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Can LLCs have employees?

    A limited liability corporation (LLC) can have an unlimited number of employees. An employee is defined as any individual ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are the requirements for being a Public Limited Company?

    The requirements for an entity to be considered a public limited company (PLC) include registration requirements, establishing ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is a family Limited Liability Company (LLC)?

    A family limited liability company (LLC) is formed by family members to conduct business in a state that permits such form ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the liabilities of a silent partner?

    Because of the nature of their interest in a business, silent partners have limited liability that extends only up to the ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What risks does a business owner face under a business structure with unlimited liability?

    The risks that a business owner faces under a business structure with unlimited liability are literally unlimited, but they ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Bar Chart

    A style of chart used by some technical analysts, on which, as illustrated below, the top of the vertical line indicates ...
  2. Bullish Engulfing Pattern

    A chart pattern that forms when a small black candlestick is followed by a large white candlestick that completely eclipses ...
  3. Cyber Monday

    An expression used in online retailing to describe the Monday following U.S. Thanksgiving weekend. Cyber Monday is generally ...
  4. Take A Bath

    A slang term referring to the situation of an investor who has experienced a large loss from an investment or speculative ...
Trading Center