Abstract : Software components are a valuable programming abstraction that enables a compositional design of complex applications. In distributed systems, components can also be used to provide an abstraction of locations: each component is a unit of deployment that can be placed on a di fferent machine. In this article, we consider this kind of distributed components that are additionally loosely coupled and communicate by asynchronous invocations. Components also provide a convenient abstraction for verifying the correct behaviour of systems: they provide structuring entities easing the correctness veri fication. This article aims at providing a formal background for the generation of behavioural semantics for asynchronous components. We use the pNet intermediate language to express the semantics of hierarchical distributed components communicating asynchronously by a request-reply mechanism. We also formalise two crucial aspects of distributed components: recon figuration and one-to-many communications. This article both demonstrates the expressiveness of the pNet model and formally speci fies the complete process of the generation of a behavioural model for a distributed component system. The behavioural models we build are precise enough to allow veri fication by finite instantiation and model-checking, but also to use veri fication techniques for infi nite systems.