What types of companies are there in Spain?

In Spain, there are mainly three types of companies:

1. The Sociedad Limitada, or SL, which is a limited liability company and is the most common type of business entity registered in Spain;

2. The Sociedad Limitada Nueva Empresa, or SLNE, which is a type of limited liability company that offers a less complex structure and streamlines the necessary procedures; and

3. The Sociedad Anónima, or SA, which is a public limited company that has the attributes of a corporation and is mainly used by large companies.

Is there an official database to find information on companies in Spain?

In Spain, the starting point for finding information on companies is the Registro Mercantil Central (RMC), the official Spanish commercial register. The RMC covers Spain at a high level, holding only central company data, and all companies in Spain are obliged to register their business there.

You can find information by searching for company name, VAT number (otherwise known as CIF/NIF), principals or business projects. You can access it in English here and find information about registered companies.

For more detailed information, you can also contact the Regional Commercial Register, which is a regional database for commercial companies and people who engage in commercial activities. The central office of the commercial register is located in Madrid, but there are regional registers throughout Spain in the provinces where companies operate. The addresses of the central and regional registers can be found here.

Alternatively, the Servicio de Certificación de los Registradores (SCR), another official business registry, can be used to find additional, specific information about businesses in the provinces. You can search for companies by name, CIF/NIF and/or main managers. An English version is here. What kind of information is available and how much will it cost?

Access to the Registro Mercantil Central is not free, but the fee is usually less than €5. The price varies depending on the number of companies and the type of company document. To start, choose one of the criteria, then select “card payments”. You can receive the report by email or download it online.

The RMC provides the following information:

  • General information for each company, such as legal status, business activities, directors and legal representatives, accounts, confirmation of financial statements with a summary of the company’s report and a link to its website.

  • Company registrations published in the Official Gazette of the RMC.

  • Other companies where directors or legal representatives also operate.

  • A project filing including information on approved mergers, dissolutions, etc.

For regional business registers, you will need to call or come to the office in person. Fees may also vary depending on the information you wish to view.

The Servicio de Certificación de los Registradores is chargeable and varies depending on the number of documents and companies you consult.

The SCR provides the following information:

Extract from a company, including:

  • General data such as company name, address, objects, VAT number, CNAE code (it refers to the national code of commercial activity, which determines what the company does. Each activity commercial has its own code).

  • A list of network domains if they are registered and the registration data.

  • Pending registrations and any specific issues.

  • Annual records for the last three fiscal years

  • Officers

  • Legalized official books including the status and tax years of the company.

Several types of company certificates, including:

  • Certificate of good standing and practice.

  • Certificate for the issuance of a certificate of representative of a legal person.

  • Certificate of statutes.

  • Certificate of shareholder settlement and shareholders’ pacts.

  • Certificate of Beneficial Ownership of a Business.

To find a certificate, search for the company by name or VAT number. Note that you will be asked to justify the request. The document will be made available either on the SCR website or by email.

Are there alternatives for finding company information?

Some private companies also offer different types of company records and information. You can search for Spanish companies by name or VAT number. Fees usually start from €20. The two pieces of information (https://www.informa.es/en) and Infoempresa (https://www.infoempresa.com/en-in/es/) have English versions of their websites and offer a wide range of business reports.

On the Axesor website you can also find information on companies, including sole proprietorships. You can search by company name, key executives, VAT number or phone number. This service is available in Spanish only: https://www.axesor.es/.

This article was published as part of the Logan & Partners and qLegal series, which featured practical and useful information on a variety of legal topics. qLegal is a pro bono legal clinic at Queen Mary University of London working with entrepreneurs and start-ups.

JUAN DAVID RIO / About the author

Juan David is a graduate law student from the University of Warwick. He is now an MA student at Queen Mary University of London – School of Law and a student adviser in qLegal’s Public Legal Education Service.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.