A closer look at company types in Ireland
By Simon O' Connor, 28th October 2015
Ireland is the fastest growing economy in Europe and is now the same size as it was at its peak in 2007. The country has an extremely globalised economy, a large exporting sector and an increasing number of multinational corporations.
Ireland is already home to some of the world’s biggest and most successful companies across a range of sectors such as Google, Microsoft, Pfizer and Medtronic. There are many reasons why these major companies have decided to invest in Ireland including:
Taxation: Ireland has one of the lowest corporation tax rates in Europe at 12.5%. This can go as low at 6.25% for companies involved in research and development.
Talent: Ireland’s education system ranks in the top ten in the world according to IMD Competitiveness Yearbook, 2015. Ireland also ranks number one in the world for Skilled Labour Workforce Flexibility & Adaptability.
When incorporating a company in Ireland is it important to choose the most suitable type of company for your business. The four most common company types in Ireland are:
- Private Company Limited by Shares (LTD)
- Designated Activity Company (DAC)
- Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG)
- Public Limited Company (PLC)
Company Limited by Shares (LTD)
A Private Company Limited by Shares is a new type of company which has recently been introduced under the new Companies Act in June 2015. This company form is the most incorporated entity in Ireland and accounts for 90% of businesses in the country. A minimum of one director is required to incorporate a LTD and there must be between 1 to 149 shareholders. The company is also required to appoint a company secretary. This can be a position carried out by a director of the company on the condition that the company has at least two directors. If the company is a single director company, a separate secretary is required to be appointed. A LTD company does not have an objective clause in it constitution which means the company may trade in any legal business.
Designated Activity Company (DAC)
Another company type which has recently been introduced under the Companies Act 2014, is the Designated Activity Company. This limited company form is appropriate to those companies who wish to outline and define a specific type of business it their Constitution, rather than have unlimited powers as per the LTD company type. Consequently, the doctrine of ‘Ultra Vires’ still applies. A DAC must have a minimum of two directors and one shareholder.
Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG)
The Guarantee Company is company form usually chosen by charities, property management companies and social and sport clubs. All profits generated by a CLG must be reinvested into the company. A CLG may have one member but is required to have at least two directors. An Annual General Meeting must be carried out unless the company has only one member.
Public Limited Company (PLC)
A Public Limited Company is used in situations where it intends to seek a listing on the Stock Exchange.This is done so that the company can offer its shares out to the general public. There is no restriction on the number of shareholders a PLC can have. A minimum of two directors os required to incorporate a PLC and the company cannot dispense with the holding of an AGM. It must have a minimum issued share capital of €25,000. The name of the PLC must end with the suffix ‘Public Limited Company’ or ‘PLC’.