The birth of the European Company: a long and painful delivery

United Kingdom

At the beginning of September, we conducted a survey of CEOs, FDs, in-house counsel, company secretaries and directors in which we asked about their awareness of and attitudes to the SE. Some of the key results are below.

60 per cent of all respondents think that the SE is a good idea for European businesses, but nearly a third (31 per cent) were not sure.

Of those who were aware of the SE, 67 per cent thought it was a good idea.

Only 11 per cent of respondents said that their company would consider using an SE; 55 per cent said that their company would not.

Those who thought the SE was a good idea were more likely to convert to a SE – with 16 per cent of businesses stating they would consider converting and 47 per cent saying they wouldn't.

- 57 per cent of respondents were aware that the SE can be used as a vehicle for cross-border joint ventures. Already some businesses are considering whether an SE may be appropriate for large-scale international joint ventures.

Principal concerns about the SE are perceived to be:

  • Uncertainty about the tax treatment and the lack of tax incentives. 70 per cent of respondents cited these as their primary concerns
  • Inadequate legislative framework (67 per cent)
  • Cost of establishment (minimum share capital of €120,000, plus legal and other expenses). Most respondents thought that the cost would deter many businesses from giving the vehicle a try.

Perhaps surprisingly, only 19 per cent of respondents were concerned about the requirement for greater employee participation.

For further information please contact Martin Mendelssohn at [email protected] or on +44 (0)207 367 2872 or Richard Oliphant at [email protected] or on +44 (0)207 367 3098.