The ratio of proprietorships and corporations is balanced
In terms of the legal form of companies doing business in France, there is a noticeable difference compared to Germany. While in Germany, almost half of the companies are proprietorships and 32.2% are corporations, in France, 43.1% of companies are proprietorships, and 42.4% are corporations. Less than ten percent (9.7%) are non-profit organisations. The remaining 4.7% of entities have other legal forms assigned to them.
Number of companies by legal form
|Non Profit Organization||9.72%|
|Partnership Of Unknown Type||1.38%|
|Local Government Body||0.85%|
Almost half of corporations operate in the finance, insurance and real estate sectors (49.3%), and 18.6% work in services. Services are the most represented proprietorships (41.4%), while finance, insurance and real estate represent just 11.3%.
Industries with the highest number of entities registered as corporations and proprietorships
|Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate||2,220,686||517,074|
|Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing||202,962||538,761|
|Transportation, Communications, Electric, Gas, and Sanitary Services||123,825||313,398|
The most common SIC Code for specific economic activities is real property lessor in both cases. When it comes to other SIC Codes, the legal forms differ. The second most represented SIC Code among corporations are holding companies. In the case of proprietorships, health practitioners' offices are clear leaders.
SIC Codes with the highest number of companies registered as corporations and proprietorships
|Real property lessor||1,806,592||Real property lessor||419,143|
|Holding company||175,208||Health practitioner's office||317,269|
|Eating place||150,745||U.S. Postal Service||206,504|
|Management consulting services||126,575||Direct retail sales||191,124|
|Business services||124,235||Commercial art/graphic design||150,434|
|Real estate agent/manager||85,651||Business services||143,666|
|Ret new/used automobiles||69,246||School/educational services||132,177|
|Legal services office||68,830||Management consulting services||125,947|
|Trade contractor||67,475||Misc personal services||111,102|
|Custom computer programming||64,769||Medical doctor's office||110,755|
Overall, the most significant number of companies operate in the services sector (36.3%). Second is the finance, insurance, and real estate sector, with 28.4%. Third is retail trade, with a share of 11.1%. Services generate the highest sales - more than EUR 975B, a 19.2% share of total corporate sales in France. Interestingly, manufacturing and wholesale trade are sectors with sales of more than EUR 860B. In contrast, the number of companies in these sectors is relatively low - just 300.000 and 255.000 enterprises. This suggests that a small number of companies in manufacturing and wholesale trade but larger ones generate more output and ultimately higher sales.
Number of companies by industry
|Industry||Number of Companies||Sales|
|Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate||3,011,466||689,970,461,933|
|Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing||780,574||98,373,847,321|
|Transportation, Communications, Electric, Gas, and Sanitary Services||448,228||451,449,157,059|
More than a fifth of all companies operate as real property lessors (21.9%). For comparison, in Germany, the most represented economic activity of real estate agents/managers had a share of 3.6% of the total number of companies.
In our database of more than 77M companies from 60 countries, there are 4M companies doing business within this economic activity. More than half of them operate in France (2.3M).
If someone in France wants to rent furnished property, they have to register and formally operate as a business. In France, more than 35% of the property is rented. Of the 2.3M companies under this SIC Code, 1.98M entities have revenues of less than EUR 100.000.
The SIC Code membership organisation is second with a share of 4.8%. Entertainment/recreation services are third with a share of 3.8%. 47.7% of all companies operate in the top ten SIC Codes.
SIC codes with the highest number of companies
|SIC Code||Number of Companies|
|Real property lessor||2,317,931|
|Health practitioner's office||330,539|
|Real estate agent/manager||313,036|
|Management consulting services||256,033|
|U.S. Postal Service||207,581|
|Direct retail sales||195,829|
|Commercial art/graphic design||159,936|
|Cash grains farm||149,254|
|Legal services office||146,496|
|Ret misc merchandise||139,872|
|Ret new/used automobiles||134,458|
|Misc personal services||130,089|
Paris has the highest number of registered companies
There are 96 inland and 5 overseas departments (administrative units). Paris has the highest number of companies registered (789,000), representing 7.45% of all companies in France. Bouches-du-Rhône is second with a share of 3.63%. Rhone is third with a share of 3.03%.
Departments with the highest number of companies
|Department||Number of Companies|
|BOUCHES DU RHONE||384,515|
|HAUTS DE SEINE||291,501|
|SEINE SAINT DENIS||230,052|
|VAL DE MARNE||209,355|
The numbers look slightly different when looking at sales and the number of employees in individual departments. Although the capital department has the most companies combined, they do not generate the highest revenues. Companies in the Hauts-De-Seine department generate the highest total revenues, with more than EUR 721B (14.21% share). These companies employ more than 1.5M people. Paris-based companies are second with sales of more than EUR 690B and a percentage of 13.61%. However, these companies employ more people (2.7 million). In terms of revenue, the department Yvelines is third with EUR 204B. Rhone is third with 925 thousand employees in terms of employees.
Sales and number of employees of individual departments in France
|Department||Sales||Number of Employees|
|BOUCHES DU RHONE||139,618,839,056||870,659|
|HAUTS DE SEINE||721,006,440,969||1,520,187|
|SEINE SAINT DENIS||164,181,006,180||713,622|
|VAL DE MARNE||139,429,689,854||506,681|
Paris is the strongest one, with 788 thousand companies (7.4% of the total number of companies in France) in cities and municipalities. The second and third are the city of Marseille with more than 163,000 companies (1.5%) and Lyon with 110,000 companies (1%).
Cities with the highest number of companies
|City||Number of Companies|
Manufacturing companies are some of the largest companies in France. PSA AUTOMOBILES SA is the largest carmaker with sales of EUR 50.1B. The French electricity producer and distributor ELECTRICITE DE FRANCE is second with sales of more than EUR 44B. The aircraft manufacturer AIRBUS is third with sales of more than EUR 39B.
French companies with the highest sales
|PSA AUTOMOBILES SA||50,192,306,000|
|ELECTRICITE DE FRANCE||44,315,000,000|
|CONTANGO TRADING SA||20,114,270,580|
|SOCIETE CIVILE DES MOUSQUETAIRES||17,761,141,455|
|TOTALENERGIES MARKETING FRANCE||16,942,209,000|
|ITM ALIMENTAIRE INTERNATIONAL||16,676,966,419|
|LA FRANCAISE DES JEUX||15,940,400,000|
|Top 15 largest companies||373,083,728,920|
The consulting company CAPGEMINI is the largest, with 212,000 employees in terms of employees. The car manufacturer RENAULT is second with more than 117,000 employees. SOCIETE CIVILE DES MOUSQUETAIRES is third with more than 112,000 employees.
French companies with highest number of employees
|Company||Number of Employees|
|SOCIETE CIVILE DES MOUSQUETAIRES||112,002|
|ELECTRICITE DE FRANCE||62,462|
|CENTRE COMMUNAL D'ACTION SOCIALE||37,496|
|SCE DEPARTEMENTAL INCENDIE ET SECOURS||28,270|
|RENT YOUR CAR||21,456|
|CAPGEMINI TECHNOLOGY SERVICES||20,038|
|Top 15 largest companies||952,835|
If you want to do a more detailed analysis of French companies or companies from other European countries, you can use HitHorizons Screener. HitHorizons Screener allows users to pick from various filtering and sorting options and find relevant entities within the HitHorizons database. The resulting datasets can be exported in CSV for further processing in any software.
HitHorizons aggregates data on 77M+ businesses from 60 countries, including the whole of Europe. Data contains basic information about individual companies such as name, registered address, identification number, contact details, industry, SIC Code, sales performance, and the number of employees.