Investment Opportunities in France

Overview by

Protection of Foreign Investment

Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By France
France has signed bilateral agreements on investments with 81 countries.
To see the list of countries, click here.
To see the conventions, click here.
International Controversies Registered By UNCTAD
There is one case of controversy registered, that of Eurotunnel versus France and the United Kingdom.
Organizations Offering Their Assistance in Case of Disagreement
ICCWBO , International court of arbitration, International chamber of commerce
ICSID , International Center for settlement of Investment Disputes
Member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
France is a signatory to the Convention of the MIGA.

Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors

  France OECD United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 10.0 6.0 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 1.0 5.2 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 5.0 6.8 9.0 5.0
Index of Investor Protection**** 5.3 6.0 8.3 5.0

Source: Doing Business

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action. **** The Greater the Index, the Higher the Level of Investor Protection.

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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
Acquisition of Holdings
When more than 5% of the capital or voting rights of a company listed on the stock exchange are likely to change holders, it is compulsory to inform the Financial Market Authority (within 5 days) and the issuing company (within 15 days).
Obligation to Declare
For any acquisition of over 10% of the capital or voting rights of a French company: declaration for statistical purposes to the credit institutions.
For any creation or acquisition of more than one third of the capital or voting rights, when the investment is over 1.5 million euros: administrative declaration to the Ministry of Finance (Directorate-General of the Treasury and Economic Policy) (in French).
Competent Organization For the Declaration
Directorate of the Treasury and Economic Policy of the Ministry of Finance
Requests For Specific Authorizations
Some sectors are subject to procedures to obtain prior authorization: games for money; private security; research and development activities on pathogenic or toxic agents; phone-tapping systems; information technologies; information systems security; goods and technologies with a dual use; means of cryptology in the digital economy; companies holding national defense secrets; the arms trade; companies which have concluded a contract with the Ministry of Defense.
Find Investment Service Providers in France on

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Office Real Estate and Land Ownership

Possible Temporary Solutions
There are several temporary solutions: domiciliation of the company at the private address of the director, domiciliation in a business center, lodging in relay-workshops (ateliers-relais), company "nurseries" (pépinières d'entreprise) and renting professional premises.
The Possibility of Buying Land and Industrial and Commercial Buildings
It is possible to buy freehold or leasehold, to build industrial and commercial premises or to buy through a real estate company.
Risk of Expropriation
According to French law, foreign investors are entitled to compensation if they are victims of expropriation.

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Investment Aid

Forms of Aid
Subsidies, discounts and reductions of costs, tax exemptions, loan guarantees, payment of expenses for personnel training
Privileged Domains
Job creation, regional development, the food industry domain, protection of the environment, aid for Research and Development, Pole of competitiveness
Privileged Geographical Zones
Areas eligible for the regional development subsidy
Regions concerned by the European ERDF program
Free Zones
Urban Free Zones
Organizations Which Finance
The State, local administrations (regions, departments, town councils)
The EU through the ERDF
Some big industrial groups which back new investors

The French Agency for International Investments
The National Agency for the Development of Research
The Fund for the Development of SMIs
OSEO, Financing and support for SMEs (merger of the ANVOR - French innovation agency - and the BDPME - Bank of the development of SMEs)

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Investment Opportunities

The Key Sectors of the National Economy
Aerospace, automobile, food industry, pharmaceuticals, micro electrotechnology, logistics.
High Potential Sectors
Call centers, biotechnologies, telecommunications, information and communication technologies, the environment
Privatization Programs
Electricity, gas and rail transport.
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
BOAMP, French Public Procurements (in french)
EBP, Tenders and Projects in France
Tenders Info, Tenders in France
Ted - Tenders Electronic daily, Business opportunities in EU 27
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide

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Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer

Monopolistic Sectors
The French government still maintains legal monopolies in public service companies: the postal service (La Poste), the rail network (RFF), public transport in Paris (RATP).
Sectors in Decline
Textiles, shoes

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