Limited company

In a limited company, the liability of members or subscribers of the company is limited to what they have invested or guaranteed to the company. Limited companies may be limited by shares or by guarantee. The former may be further divided in public companies and private companies. Who may become a member of a private limited company is restricted by law and by the company's rules. In contrast, anyone may buy shares in a public limited company.
Limited companies can be found in most countries, although the detailed rules governing them vary widely. It is also common for a distinction to be made between the publicly tradable companies of the plc type, and the "private" types of company


Private company limited by guarantee

This is a company that does not have share capital, but is guaranteed by its members, who agree to pay a fixed amount in the event of the company's liquidation. Charitable organisations are often incorporated using this form of limited liability. Another example is the Financial Conduct Authority. In Australia, only an unlisted public company can be limited by guarantee.

Private company limited by shares

Has shareholders with limited liability and its shares may not be offered to the general public. Shareholders of private companies limited by shares are always bound to offer the shares to their fellow shareholders prior to selling them to a third party.

Public limited company

A public limited company can be publicly traded on a stock exchange; this is similar to the U.S. Corporation and the German Aktiengesellschaft.

In specific countries


The private company equivalent in Australia is the Proprietary Limited company. An Australian company with only Limited or Ltd after its name is a public company, such as a company listed on the ASX. Australia does not have a direct equivalent to the plc.
A shareholder in a limited company, in the event of its becoming insolvent would be liable to contribute the amount remaining unpaid on the shares. "Paid" here relates to the amount paid to the company for the shares on first issue, and should not be confused with amounts paid by one shareholder to another to transfer ownership of shares between them. A shareholder is thus afforded limited liability.


In Brazil, a limited company is registered as any other type of company. To register it, you must pay an accountant to research the name of your future business to check if it wasn't already registered, then the accountant contacts the offices responsible for giving you the CNPJ, which are the commercial joint of the state and the IRS. After that the Ltda. or Lda. suffixes can be placed after the companies name or with Cia. : & Cia. Ltda.


In Canada, a person wishing to register a limited company must file Articles of Incorporation with either their provincial government or the federal government. At the time of incorporation, a company must elect to use "Limited", "Incorporated" or "Corporation" as part of their name.


In India, there are three types of limited company: a public limited company, a private limited company, and a one-person company. A company's liability may be limited by shares, in which case the liability of the company's members is limited to the amount of the shares held by them, or it may be limited by guarantee, in which case the liability is limited to a predetermined amount the company's members have agreed to contribute if the company is dissolved with outstanding liabilities. A private limited company is a limited company incorporated under the Companies Act 2013, with a minimum paid-up share capital of, with an article that restricts the transfer of its shares; it may have between two and two hundred members, and its name ends with "Private Limited". A public limited company must have a paid-up share capital of at least, and at least seven members; its name ends "Limited". A one-person company is a private company with similar proprietorship and privileges to a private limited company, but with fewer requirements; this type of company may have only one director and member.
Latest Updates:
No Minimum Paid up Capital – Earlier the business organisations which wanted to take up a company as the preferred form of business organisation had to fulfil the requirement of minimum paid-up share capital of not less than ₹ 5 lakhs in case of public company and ₹1 lakh in case of private companies by way of Section 2 and 2 respectively. However, after in the recent , this requirement is scrapped, and a company can go ahead with its incorporation without fulfilling this criterion.


In Nigeria, there are two types of limited companies namely: a company limited by guarantee and a company limited by shares. The company limited by shares is further divided into two namely a Private limited company and a Public limited company In Nigeria shareholders of limited companies are only liable for the amount of money they contributed to the company. All Nigerian companies are governed by the Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990 and regulated by the Corporate Affairs Commission.

South Africa

In South Africa, the term "Proprietary Limited", abbreviated " Ltd", is used to refer to a private limited company. All South African companies are regulated by the CIPC.

Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, businesses can be registered as Private Limited Company " Ltd", Public Limited Company "PLC" or under a sole proprietorship. Registering as Private Limited Company will be more secure, and have added benefits. Therefore, you and your company will act as two independent parties; ensuring that your business assets and liabilities will be separate. All companies are registered under the Companies Act, No. 7 of 2007., through the Registrar of Companies, which operates its office in Colombo.

United Kingdom

The registration of companies in the United Kingdom is done through Companies House, which operates offices in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast.
Prior to 1 October 2009, the registration of companies in Northern Ireland was the responsibility of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment. On the commencement of the Companies Act 2006, Northern Ireland's previously distinct company law was repealed and the new companies code instituted by that Act was extended to Northern Ireland.

United States

In the United States, corporations have limited liability and the expression corporation is preferred to limited company. A "limited liability company" is a different entity. However, some states permit corporations to have the designation Ltd. to signify their corporate status. A Limited company must file annual tax returns with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


In Zimbabwe the term " Ltd" refers to a private company limited by share capital. All private entities are regulated by the Registrar of Companies in Harare.