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Policy

SME definition

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SME definition

The European Commission Recommendation 2003/361 sets out the main factors for determining whether a company is an small and medium-sized enterprise (SME). These include the total number of employees and either turnover or the size of the balance sheet. In June 2017, the European Commission announced it was considering reviewing the 2003 definition, although no proposal has so far been introduced.

How does it affect private equity?

Under the current EU SME definition, only companies that do not receive a majority or controlling investment from a venture capital firm are able qualify for SME status. For a private equity-backed portfolio company, SME status is important as it allows the firm to be eligible for government support programmes or state aid. Moreover, the regulator is typically trying to make it easier for SMEs to operate by either providing them with regulatory exemptions or by placing fewer requirements on the investors that back them. For example, the AIFMD provides an exemption for SMEs from certain disclosure and asset stripping requirements.

SME definition library

Positions & consultation responses

Response to Commission Consultation on the review of the SME definition

06 Jul 2017
Download PDF 305.38 KB
Positions & consultation responses

Response to Capital Markets Union Mid-Term Consultation

17 Mar 2017
Download PDF 446.9 KB
Positions & consultation responses

Response to European Commission Call for Evidence on EU Regulatory Framework for Financial Services

31 Jan 2016
Download PDF 474.66 KB
Positions & consultation responses

EVCA-PAE Response to Green Paper on Capital Markets Union

13 May 2015
Download PDF 1.11 MB
Positions & consultation responses

EC Green Paper on Capital Markets Union

18 Feb 2015
Download PDF 235.29 KB
Publication

Comments on the EU SME definition

10 Feb 2009
Download PDF 45.44 KB
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Erika Blanckaert

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Simon Tosserams

Public Affairs

Senior Public Affairs Officer

Christophe Verboomen Image

Christophe Verboomen

Public Affairs

Senior Public Affairs Officer

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