On 1 May, a new company law will take effect in Belgium. In practical terms, the rules governing the lives of companies have been entirely overhauled and a new Companies and Associations Code (WVV) will enter force on that day.
One of the major innovations is considerable streamlining of the legal forms a company can take. Currently, there are seventeen different forms in Belgium, but that number is about to be pruned back to just four:
- cooperative society
- private company
- limited liability company.
Companies whose legal form has been abolished will automatically be converted into the closest new form as of 1 January 2024.
Don’t forget to register a change in company form
The upshot is that the legal form a Belgian company has today may soon become obsolete and change.
Do you have a Belgian company whose form will change as a result of the new law and that owns one or more Benelux trademarks? If so, please note that this change needs to be recorded in the Benelux Trademarks Register. Upon your request, BOIP will update the company form on the record of the relevant trademarks, in principle free of charge.
You can request the change yourself using the form below:
Please send the completed form to us using this contact form.
What will change with the WVV?
Company law in Belgium has been reformed along three main lines:
- Major simplification
- Much greater flexibility, and
- Modernisation to address developments in Europe and new trends such as companies becoming ever more mobile.
What is the implementation plan?
The new law will be implemented in three phases. On 1 May 2019, it will take effect. From that date onwards, companies can only be established in one of the new legal forms. Existing companies have until 1 January 1 2024 to amend their articles of association of their own accord. From 1 January 2020 onwards, they will be obliged to make the necessary changes when they next make an amendment to their articles of association. From that date onwards, some important provisions will also apply, for instance new company descriptors and abbreviations will become de rigueur.