Though similar in that they're owned by shareholders, private and public limited companies are different things, with different requirements. We'll talk you through them, so you know what's what.

Minimum share capital

A public limited company has to have a minimum share capital of £50,000, whilst a private limited company doesn't have a minimum.

Directors, officers, and shareholders

A private limited company only needs to have one shareholder, who can double-up as the company director, whereas a public limited company has to have a minimum of two company directors. Directors of any type of company must be younger than 70 years old and older than 16, and must not have been disqualified from becoming a director by a court.

A public limited company is also required to have a company secretary who is qualified for the post. A private limited company isn't required to appoint a company secretary, but if it appoints one anyway, they don't have to be qualified.

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Selling the company

Private limited companies are not allowed to sell their shares publicly, unlike public limited companies which can.

Submitting company accounts

A public limited company has to submit accounts within six months of its accounting year end. A private limited company can submit accounts up to nine months after the accounting year end.

Starting to trade

Private limited companies can start trading as soon as they have been incorporated. A public limited company cannot start trading until it has a trading certificate.

Holding an AGM

Only a public limited company is required to hold an annual general meeting.

If you're unsure about how to form a limited company and would like our help, just use the Live Chat button to speak to one of our advisers.

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