There are a number of company types that can be incorporated in Ireland:
1. Private Company Limited by Shares (LTD Company)
- A Private Company Limited by Shares (LTD Company) is the most common form of Incorporation for people to start their business in Ireland. In 2016 a total of 20,977 companies were formed, of which 93% were Private Companies Limited by Shares. The shares in a company are owned by its shareholders. The benefit of such a company is that should it fail, the liability of the shareholders is limited to the amount, if any, remaining unpaid on the shares held by them, subject to some important exceptions. A Private Limited by Shares Company (LTD Company) can have one director if it chooses, but it must have a separate secretary if it is a single director company. A LTD Company has no objects stated in its constitution.
2. Designated Activity Company (DAC)
(A) Designated Activity Company (DAC) - Limited by Shares
The members' liability, if the company is wound up, is limited to the amount, if any, unpaid on the shares they hold. The maximum number of members it may have is 149. A DAC company must have a minimum of 2 directors. A DAC Company does have a Memorandum and Articles of Association in its constitution stating its objects.
(B) Designated Activity Company Limited by Guarantee (DAC) – Limited by Guarantee
The members have liability under two headings; firstly, the amount, if any, that is unpaid on the shares they hold, and secondly, the amount they have undertaken to contribute to the assets of the company, in the event that it is wound up. The maximum number of members it may have is 149. A DAC company must have a minimum of 2 directors. A DAC Company does have a Memorandum and Articles of Association in its constitution stating its specific objects.
3. Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG) (Limited by Guarantee not having a Share Capital)
- The members' liability is limited to the amount they have undertaken to contribute to the assets of the company, in the event the company is wound up, not exceeding the amount specified in the memorandum. As a guarantee company does not have a share capital, th members are not required to buy any shares in the company. Professional and Charitable Bodies find this form of company to be a suitable vehicle as they wish to secure the benefits of separate legal personality and of limited liability but do not require to raise funds from the members. A CLG company must have a minimum of 2 directors.
4. An Unlimited Company (ULC)
- An Unlimited Company can either be public or private. Unlimited companies are required to have a minimum of two directors and may have just one member, there is no limit placed on the liability of the members. Recourse may be had by creditors to the shareholders in respect of any liabilities owed by the company which the company has failed to discharge.
5. A Public Limited Company (PLC)
- The liability of members is limited to the amount, if any, unpaid on shares held by them. There are no restrictions to the number of shareholders that the company may have. It should be noted that it is unlawful to issue any form of prospectus except in compliance with the Companies Act 2014. The nominal value of the company's allotted share capital must not be less than €25,000, at least 25% of which must be fully paid up before the company commences business or exercises any borrowing powers. The name of the PLC must end with the suffix “Public Limited Company” or "PLC".
The Companes Registration Office (CRO)
is the central repository of public statutory information Irish Companies and business names, for more information you can visit the Companies Registration Office website.