There are diverse forms of companies in Belgium, and each of these has its own distinguishing features. Among many others, the following are the most popular types of companies in Belgium:
Société Anonyme (SA): This is a public limited company. It requires a minimum of two persons as shareholders. A lot of firms choose to register their firms under this category, and most of them are large corporations. However, smaller firms such as SMEs who choose this type of company are also quite substantial.
Société Privée à Responsabilité Limiteé (SPRL): The SPRL is a limited liability company which can be set up by one or more persons who bear limited liability. Hence, the risk an individual carries on the business is limited to the amount he/she invests in the business. It is essential to mention that the rights and obligations of the shareholders are not transferrable, unless under certain conditions.
Société Privée à Responsabilité Limiteé “Starter” (SPRL-S): This means ‘start-up limited liability company’ in English. It is a form of SPRL created especially for individuals who do not have enough capital required to set a company of their own. SPRL-S, therefore, serves to enhance the creation of new firms while also protecting the proprietor’s personal property from the company’s risks by making his firm a limited liability company.
Société Coopérative à Responsabilité Limiteé ou Illimitée (SCRL or SCRI): The société coopérative can either have limited or unlimited liability. This type of company is one in which the shareholders can be unlimited in number and work based on common goals and interests. It is a profit making institution and the investment of each of the members does not necessarily have to be the same.
Société en Nom Collectif (SNC): The société en nomcollectif is a type of company formed by more than one person. Since there are several partners, there must be a unanimous consensus before any decision can be taken.
Société en Commandite Simple (SCS): This simply means ‘ordinary limited partnership’. Here, there are two types of partners: the working/active partners and the sleeping/dormant partners. The sleeping partners are only associated to the company by their financial contribution, they have no say in the running of the company. On the other hand, the working partners are the ones saddled with the responsibility of managing the company. They oversee the day-to-day activities of the business.
Société en Commandite par Actions (SCA): This is a limited partnership with share capital. This type of company can be founded by one or more partners who are jointly liable as well as one or more dormant partners who are only required to invest a fixed capital in the business. The jointly liable partners are known as managing partners.
In the same vein, the common associations in Belgium include:
Association SansBut Lucratif (ASBL): This is a nonprofit organization made up of a group of individuals with the aim of carrying out tasks for charity purpose. This type of association requires a minimum of three people.
Association Internationale Sans But Lucratif (AISBL): This is just like ASBL above with the only difference being that AISBL is done on an international scale.