Our country ignores a system of governance largely spread in Europe : in Denmark, Germany, Norway and Switzerland, … industrial and commercial firms are commonly owned by foundation. Indeed, who knew that Bosch or Bertelsmann (Germany), Rolex (Switzerland), Ikea (Sweden), Carlsberg (Denmark), or Pierre Fabre (France) belonged to… foundations?

This website was created in parallel with the publication of the first European study on Shareholder Foundations. The aim is to gather actors and share knowledge regarding this new socio-economic model.

What is a shareholder foundation ?


A shareholder foundation describes a non-profit foundation that owns an industrial or commercial firm. The former holds all or part of the shares of the latter, in addition to the majority of voting rights – or at least a blocking minority.

Why a European study ?


The model of shareholder foundation, which combines charitable giving and investment, capitalism and philanthropy, remains largely ignored in France. The Laboratoires Pierre Fabre are indeed an exception in the French economic/business landscape. Prophil, a French strategic consulting firm, specialized in new philanthropic and economic models, has naturally chosen shareholder foundations as a research topic.

Following a conference organized with Delsol Avocats in March 2014, Propil decided to gather this well-known law firm, the Philanthropy Chair of the Essec Business School, to explore the topic with the financial support of Mazars. The study was conducted in 4 European countries: Denmark, Germany, France and Switzerland.

The study explores an economic reality that remains a groundbreaking terra incognita. This model is paradoxical: widespread yet unknown, influence yet discreet, virtuous for some and subversive for others. It is the starting point of a collective reflection that needs to be pursued.

shareholder foundations in Danmark

shareholder foundations in Germany

shareholder foundations in Switzerland

shareholder foundations in France

This study was conducted and realised by


Why a dedicated website ?

Build a network


Share knowledge