Overview, definitions, thresholds

The regulation on registration of beneficial owners in Denmark entered into effect in May 2017. Data is collected by the Danish Business Authority in the Danish Central Business Register (aka CVR — Det Centrale Virksomhedsregister).

Direct ownership

Danish companies have to report beneficial owners (‘reelle ejere’) who directly control a company. Beneficial owners can be Danish or foreign natural persons.

The indication of a 25% threshold is not directly mentioned in the Danish definition, but it is used to determine presumption of beneficial ownership. Lower levels of ownership of interest in capital and voting rights could also indicate beneficial ownership, when they point to the right to exercise or actually exercises significant influence or control over the company. Other factors include the right to appoint members of the board, holding shareholders’ agreements or share pledge agreements, the right to approve payments of dividend or any combination of the above.

As a result, all these interests should be declared.

Indirect ownership

If a beneficial owner’s interests are held indirectly through one or more legal entities (whether DK or foreign), they have to be declared.

This is because legal entities, such as companies and foundations, can never be beneficial owners. They are registered as ‘legal owners’ (or ‘legale ejere’), a requirement that predates that of registering beneficial owners.

If there are no beneficial owners, or the beneficial owners cannot be defined, the registered members of the company’s executive board must be registered as beneficial owners in the CVR.

Exclusions and exemptions

The following entities are exempt from registering beneficial owners:

  • Entities listed on a regulated market or a market with similar disclosure obligations in accordance with applicable EU regulation
  • Sole proprietorships and small personally owned businesses
  • Publicly (state/government/regional) owned businesses
  • Branches of non-Danish companies
  • Certain associations not conducting business

Data availability and license

The CVR Register data is publicly and freely available in two formats:

The Danish Business Authority withholds API data relating to ‘entities protected against unsolicited advertising’. This data is only available to API users if they formally commit to respect those same protections (Clause 7)

The CVR Register data is licensed by statute.