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International Group Structures

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Designing cross-border structures

Corporate groups with an international structure need to comply with the laws of multiple countries. Having international operations involves special legal requirements, especially in the case of multi-level structures. With international group structures, the question often arises as to the legal form to choose for the individual group companies. An increasingly popular option is the Societas Europaea (SE), which makes the international nature of the business immediately visible.

Business management view vs. legal structure

International groups often adopt specific organisational models. A matrix structure is widely used by international corporate international groups, for example, due to the efficiency benefits. These organisational models raise complex compliance issues because the business management matrix doesn’t always align with the group’s legal structure.

Beware of co-determination implications of employee allocation

Co-determination is another important issue for international corporate groups. Particular attention should be paid to the allocation of group employees to parent companies. Such allocation issues become even more complex if the group has a multi-level structure and operates internationally.

Focusing on Europe: SE a good solution for many groups

The International Group Structures team is dedicated to helping companies find the best structure for their global operations. Experienced lawyers specialising in designing sophisticated corporate structures assist you in complying with the legal requirements of the various countries where you have a presence. For many major corporate groups in the European Economic Area, the European stock corporation, or Societas Europaea (SE), is now the first choice. Becoming an SE is also an attractive option for small and medium-sized enterprises.

There are a number of advantages offered by the SE. The Societas Europaea is often chosen to highlight the international nature of the company’s business, for example. As a European stock corporation, companies also have the freedom they need to operate as a single company in more than one EU Member State. For this reason, an SE is frequently used to implement cross-border restructuring.

Our services around international group structures

We can advise you on all legal issues relating to international group structures, in particular the choice of legal form, co-determination aspects, cross-border structural changes including their tax implications, and corporate governance. We also provide legal advice on the complex matter of matrix structures. Our legal services additionally include all SE-related issues. We assist stock corporations with forming a new SE, merging existing stock corporations into a European stock corporation or converting subsidiaries into an SE, depending on the individual scenario. We can also provide advice on relocating your SE’s registered office to another Member State.

In terms of corporate law, we can design a one-tier or two-tier management system for your Societas Europaea in accordance with your specific needs. Thanks to our expertise in employment law, we are able to advise you on taking advantage of the flexibility offered by a Societas Europaea with regard to employee participation.

Want to find out more about international group structures? Please contact our experts at any time for a no-obligation discussion.

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March 2019
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