European companies in the UK: registration and administration

The main features of the European Company or 'Societas Europaea' (SE).



This publication explains the main features of the European Company or ‘Societas Europaea’ (SE). It has been possible to set up this type of legal entity in Great Britain (GB) since 8 October 2004.

The guidance in this publication applies only to European Companies (SEs) registered (or to be registered) in UK.

In March 2018, the UK and EU reached agreement on the terms of an implementation period that will start on 30 March 2019, and last until 31 December 2020. The agreement builds an important bridge to our new future partnership with the EU. During this period, the UK will no longer be a Member State of the European Union, but common rules will remain in place until the end of the period meaning businesses will be able to trade on the same terms as now up until the end of 2020.

As the legal forms of a European Public Limited-Liability Company or Societas Europaea (SE) and European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG) are EU specific entities, established under EU law, these agreed terms would mean the UK would effectively remain part of the EEIG and SE frameworks during this period and SEs and EEIGs registered in the UK can continue to operate as normal during the implementation period.

Published 1 November 2014
Last updated 15 June 2018 + show all updates
  1. Statement added to landing page.
  2. New version relating to changes brought in by the The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act.
  3. First published.