Database of Companies in France: Top Industries and Biggest Players

  • Published 26 April 2022
  • Language: English

More than 10.5M companies are in 101 departments (administrative units) in France. More than half of those companies operate in the services sector (36.26%) and the finance, insurance and real estate sectors (28.4%). The highest number of companies is registered in Paris (7.5%), followed by Marseille (1.5%) and Lyon (1%).

Data on French companies is part of the HitHorizons database. HitHorizons aggregates data on 80M+ 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. HitHorizons Screener and HitHorizons API will help you if you need to analyse the French market.

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

Legal form Share
Proprietorship 43.12%
Corporation 42.44%
Non Profit Organization 9.72%
Cooperative 2.04%
Partnership Of Unknown Type 1.38%
Local Government Body 0.85%
Unknown Type 0.3%
Government Body 0.07%
Joint Venture 0.06%

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

Industries
Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate 2,220,686 517,074
Services 838,873 1,892,947
Retail Trade 496,937 659,062
Construction 308,866 363,887
Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing 202,962 538,761
Wholesale Trade 143,862 108,788
Manufacturing 127,991 165,502
Transportation, Communications, Electric, Gas, and Sanitary Services 123,825 313,398
Unknown industry 30,449 6,963
Mining 1,354 707
Public Sector 165 52

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

Corporations 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
Services 3,840,927 975,304,057,055
Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate 3,011,466 689,970,461,933
Retail Trade 1,179,841 656,923,683,096
Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing 780,574 98,373,847,321
Construction 686,852 263,418,866,433
Transportation, Communications, Electric, Gas, and Sanitary Services 448,228 451,449,157,059
Manufacturing 300,713 861,964,725,972
Wholesale Trade 255,747 863,597,479,046
Public Sector 48,405 198,976,121,845
Mining 2,134 12,404,574,598

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 80M 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
Membership organization 507,672
Amusement/recreation services 403,197
Health practitioner's office 330,539
Real estate agent/manager 313,036
Business services 283,742
Management consulting services 256,033
Eating place 238,381
U.S. Postal Service 207,581
Direct retail sales 195,829
School/educational services 187,607
Holding company 179,615
Commercial art/graphic design 159,936
Trade contractor 151,581
Beauty shop 149,500
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
PARIS 789,557
BOUCHES DU RHONE 384,515
RHONE 320,681
NORD 308,745
GIRONDE 304,232
HAUTS DE SEINE 291,501
ALPES MARITIMES 277,727
HERAULT 253,567
SEINE SAINT DENIS 230,052
VAR 224,518
HAUTE GARONNE 223,486
VAL DE MARNE 209,355
LOIRE ATLANTIQUE 202,378
YVELINES 199,913
ISERE 198,282

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
PARIS 690,232,775,944 2,798,375
BOUCHES DU RHONE 139,618,839,056 870,659
RHONE 173,545,530,155 925,030
NORD 186,543,568,451 851,329
GIRONDE 94,673,249,348 647,241
HAUTS DE SEINE 721,006,440,969 1,520,187
ALPES MARITIMES 59,832,021,296 504,684
HERAULT 61,744,041,705 471,601
SEINE SAINT DENIS 164,181,006,180 713,622
VAR 45,744,700,662 400,055
HAUTE GARONNE 126,197,354,170 550,559
VAL DE MARNE 139,429,689,854 506,681
LOIRE ATLANTIQUE 88,075,609,917 507,177
YVELINES 204,924,632,280 547,024
ISERE 68,670,503,616 441,973
Top 15 2,964,419,963,603 4,418,509
Total 5,072,532,078,293 10,592,852

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
PARIS 788,766
MARSEILLE 163,254
LYON 110,822
TOULOUSE 91,990
NICE 89,943
BORDEAUX 70,694
MONTPELLIER 64,827
NANTES 56,661
STRASBOURG 51,273
LILLE 48,497
Other 8,894,562

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

Company Sales
PSA AUTOMOBILES SA 50,192,306,000
ELECTRICITE DE FRANCE 44,315,000,000
AIRBUS 39,036,834,000
RENAULT SAS 37,715,000,000
ORANGE 22,604,931,633
CSF 22,019,809,170
CONTANGO TRADING SA 20,114,270,580
ENGIE 19,272,000,000
RENAULT 18,026,160,663
CMA CGM 17,972,700,000
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
ENEDIS 14,494,000,000
Top 15 largest companies 373,083,728,920
Total 5,072,532,078,293

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
CAPGEMINI 212,000
RENAULT 117,405
SOCIETE CIVILE DES MOUSQUETAIRES 112,002
ADECCO FRANCE 95,288
SNCF VOYAGEURS 66,766
ORANGE 64,411
ELECTRICITE DE FRANCE 62,462
CENTRE COMMUNAL D'ACTION SOCIALE 37,496
ONET SERVICES 35,801
SYNERGIE 32,682
SCE DEPARTEMENTAL INCENDIE ET SECOURS 28,270
CRIT 24,448
B.A.G. 22,310
RENT YOUR CAR 21,456
CAPGEMINI TECHNOLOGY SERVICES 20,038
Top 15 largest companies 952,835
All employees 26,100,201

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 API enriches any analytical tools, CRMs, ERPs, or other software with data available in the HitHorizons database.

HitHorizons aggregates data on 80M+ 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.

If you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to contact us

Martin Lindak - Analyst
Martin Lindak Analyst insights@hithorizons.com

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