1. Home
  2. Documentation
  3. Definitions

Definitions

Principal activity (APE)

Legal category

Cessation of an enterprise

French Official Geographic Code

Creation of an enterprise

Enterprise

Establishment

French classification of activities - NAF rev 2, 2008

Headquarter

Siren

Sirene

Siret

Principal activity (APE)

As part of its responsibility to maintain the Sirene register, Insee assigns a principal activity code (APE) for statistical purposes to the enterprise and to each of its establishments, based on the French Classification of Activities (NAF) as defined by decree.

The APE is determined separately for the enterprise as a whole and for each establishment (based on a breakdown of the enterprise’s activities). This code consists of four digits and one letter, in line with the current classification scheme. It is assigned for statistical purposes and is only one element that is used when appraising a regulation or contract.

Legal category

The legal category describes the legal status of the enterprise. For corporate bodies it is determined from the declaration completed when the enterprise is created. For public bodies, the legal category is determined from the regulatory text produced when it was created.

The interadministrative nomenclature of legal categories acts as a common reference for all administrations, bodies associated with the Sirene register and with procedures at centres for business formalities.

It is organised into three successive levels:  aggregated, intermediate and detailed

In the Sirene® database, legal nature corresponds only to the legal category for corporate bodies.

Cessation of an enterprise

The cessation of a enterprise is taken in the broadest sense to mean enterprises that cease their activity and cease to exist legally. The cessation of a enterprise represents the end of the life of a legal entity. In every case, in a enterprise that ceases to exist, all its establishments will close.

The Siren identifier is associated with the legal existence of the enterprise and dies with the enterprise. To balance legal requirements and economic realities, there are two categories of cessations: 

  • legal cessation of the enterprise:  a enterprise ceases to exist after dissolution in the case of a corporate body, and on death or when all activity ceases in the case of a self-employed worker; 
  • cessation of activity by the enterprise:  the enterprise’s activities cease. This is also described as economic cessation when all the compnay’s establishments have closed

French Official Geographic Code

The Official Geographic Code contains all the codes and the names of municipalities, cantons, districts, departments, regions, overseas authorities, foreign countries and territories.

Creation of an enterprise

The creation of a enterprise is the creation of a new legal entity, and a new Siren number is attributed. The creation of a enterprise is always associated with the creation of at least one economically active establishment.

A enterprise is created when: 

  • there is a new registration in the Sirene register. The means of production associated with the creation of a enterprise may be created and are therefore truly new; 
  • a enterprise is economically reactivated. The means of production associated with the creation of a enterprise may be reactivated, i.e. operations start up again after activity had ceased.

Enterprise

A enterprise is a legally autonomous economic unit organised to produce goods or services for the market.

There are two main categories (or families): 

  • individual enterprise, which has no legal personality distinct from that of the person running it (trader, craftsperson, professions); 
  • what is called a corporate body:  public limited enterprise (SA), limited liability enterprise (SARL).

Establishment

An establishment is a unit of operation or production in a specific geogaphic location, individual but legally dependent on a enterprise. This is the place where the activity is actually carried out (shop, workshop, etc.).

French classification of activities - NAF rev 2, 2008

The principal activity (APE) of enterprises and establishments in the Sirene register is coded according to the French classification of activities (NAF), a national adaptation of the European Community nomenclature of economic activities (NACE).

The new version (rev. 2, 2008) is the latest national statistical nomenclature, in force since 1st January 2008. It includes all the levels in the European nomenclature and adds a national level to take account specifically of French features and habits (four digits and one letter).

Headquarter

A registered office is an establishment that has the status of main establishment. This is the place where the administration and the real running of the enterprise are centralised. A registered office is defined only for corporate bodies. In this case, each enterprise has only one establishment that is the registered office. For a enterprise with only one establishment, then this is also the registered office.

Siren

Nine-digit identifying number assigned by Insee to all natural persons or corporate bodies recorded in the register of enterprises and establishments.

Sirene

Computer system for the register of enterprises and their establishments from which Insee creates the Sirene® database.

Siret

The Siret number is a unique identification number attributed to each establishment by Insee. It is simply a sequential number, made up of 14 non-significant digits:  the first nine digits correspond to the Siren number of the enterprise on which the establishment depends and the last five to an internal classification number (NIC).

A enterprise is made up of as many establishments as there are different places where it carries out its activities. The establishment closes when activity ceases in the establishment concerned or when it has a change of address.