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Sweden

Branches

Updated 07/2012

Legal requirements

Opening a branch

Any company within the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) wishing to start a business in Sweden can open a branch there. This is a legal form which means that a foreign company has a local office in Sweden.

The activities of a branch office are governed by the Act on Branches of Foreign Companies (Lagen om utländska filialer).

What distinguishes a branch

For a business operation to be considered a branch, the following applies:

  • A foreign company may only have one branch in Sweden.
  • It must be represented by a managing director.
  • A branch does not constitute a separate legal entity, but is part of a foreign company.
  • It is subject to Swedish law and answerable to Swedish authorities.
  • A branch does not have its own share capital, instead its assets are part of the parent company's combined assets.
  • Accounts must be kept separate from the rest of the company.
  • An authorised public accountant must audit the branch's accounts and administration.

Requirements regarding the company name

The branch's company name must include:

  • The foreign company's name, including type of company, according to its registration certificate;
  • "branch", "branch of" ("filial", "filial till"), or similar;
  • Clear information about the foreign company's nationality.

Regulations regarding branches do not apply if you just want to have a representation in Sweden, such as an office, an agency or a department, providing only information or representing your company.

Many of the requirements and procedures for opening a secondary establishment are the same as for starting up a business.

Administrative procedures

Services Directive Contact points in Sweden

Services Directive is EU-legislation which is aimed making it easier for the companies to provide services within the EU - both in their native country and abroad. The directive states regulations for the companies which want to start companiesor provide services on temporary basiswithin the EU/EEA (EU’s 27 Member States and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). According to the directive, the Member States must do away with unnecessary bureaucracy, simplify the formalities for companies and make public management more efficient.

In order to put the directive into practice, each Member State should establish a common point of contact, a e-management portal which simplifies for the companies the management of the administrative procedures on-line. In those points of contact there is comprehensive information about all administrative questions in connection with starting a service company or expanding a company’s activity in a certain country, including the following:

  • Which licences or permits do I need and which applications do I need to submit in order to start a company (at home or aborad)?
  • What do I need to do if I temporarily would like to offer services abroad?
  • How do i apply for a licence? Which authority is answerable?
  • Do I have to pay a fee for the licences? Which assigned time periods apply?
  • Which legislation applies to my branch?
  • What do I need to do if I, for example, would like to open a restaurant or a shop? Or if I would like to be a travel agent in another country without starting a company?
  • Where can I get personal advice and further information?

Thanks to the points of information, you do not need to contct different authorities individually! You can find all the relevant information and submit electronic applications to the responsible authorities at the common point of contact. You can manage all formalities electronically at the point of contact. You need to contact the point of contact in the country you would like to do business with.

All points of contact are included in the European network EUGO - through a central web portal you can easily reach all the points of contact in Europe. Of course you choose yourself if you would like to make use of them. You can also choose to contact the relevant authorities directly.

Registration

A branch must be registered with the Swedish Companies Registration Office. The registration shall be signed by the branch's MD and sent to the Companies Registration Office, along with the registration fee payment.

The Swedish Companies Registration Office will examine:

  • the power of attorney for the branch's MD;
  • the branch's business activities;
  • whether the proposed company name can be approved.

Once the branch has been registered, it will be assigned a corporate identity number with ten figures.

Many of the requirements and procedures for opening a secondary establishment are the same as for starting up a business.

Licenses

You may require a permit from the relevant local authority for certain business activities, such as in the financial, agricultural or environmental sectors. Sweden's County Administrative Boards will provide further information. There is also information on permits in the database Find permits  on the business portal verksamt.se.

Legal obligations

A branch shall have its own accounts, separate from the foreign parent company's accounts.

The accounting documents for both the branch and the foreign company shall be submitted within three months of the foreign company's accounts and audit report being presented to the company's partners, but no later than seven months after the end of the branch's financial year.

Resources

There is an ongoing project to translate Swedish law into other languages. If you intend to run business activities in Sweden, you may be able to access translations of other laws.

 Business Sweden offers general information and guidance on trade and investment opportunities in Sweden. It can provide further information on what permits are required and how to apply for them.

 

Help & advice

Help & advice

E-mail a business organisation near you

The EU runs a network (Enterprise Europe Network) of local business organisations in most European countries that may be able to help you.

Choose your country and town and enter your enquiry below.

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