United Kingdom

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DOING BUSINESS

 


Local business incentives - Legal forms of companies - Registration and licensing procedures - Legal framework - Foreign exchange control - Regulations concerning equity investment - FDI inflows - Expertise of the political risk

Local business incentives

The Invest in Britain Department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade provides its services in order to inform foreign companies on aids to set up in Great Britain. Companies zones have been created to encourage industrial and commercial development. These zones allow companies to benefit from tax exemptions. Companies can contact the Department of Trade and Industry to obtain further details relating to the different regions.

 

Legal forms of companies

Form Number of partners/shareholders Minimum and/or maximum capital Liability Registration fee Release of financial documents
Private Limited Company (Ltd) Minimum 2 partners, except for single-member Private limited Company. Maximum 50 partners. No minimum. In practice, the minimum subscribed is GBP 100. Totality of the capital must be released. Liability is limited to the amount contributed. About GBP1,000. Yes, a detailed report
Public Limited Company (Plc) Minimum 2. Minimum GBP 50,000 totally subscribed, obligation to release 25% at the constitution. Liability is limited to the amount contributed. About GBP1,000. Yes, a detailed report
Partnership No minimum. No minimum capital. Partners' liability is joint and indefinite About GBP1,000. Yes, a simplified report + a detailed report to shareholders.
Limited Partnership No minimum. No minimum capital. Liability is limited. About GBP1,000. Yes, a simplified report + a detailed report to shareholders.
Unlimited Company No minimum. No minimum capital. Partners' liability is joint and several About GBP1.000. Yes, a simplified report + a detailed report to shareholders.

Registration and licensing procedures
Status consist of a "Memorandum of Association" and "Articles of Association". Status and capital must be registered with the "Companies Registration Office" where the company is located, which approves the company's registered name and delivers a certificate of compliance. The Companies Registration Office delivers a registration number and a certificate of registration. Once these documents are provided, the company is legally constituted and can start its activity. These procedures take about 6 weeks. As for branches, procedures are shorter since they are limited to an activity declaration with the Register of companies, within one month after the activity starts.

Foreign exchange control
Currency exchange control has been suspended. In the United Kingdom, free conversion of currencies is carried out as well as the right to transfer profits and capital.

Regulations concerning equity investment
In the United Kingdom, a majority holding interest in the capital of a local company is legal.  


Foreign Direct Investment inflows in United Kingdom

FDI inflows 2003 2004 2005 World rank (*)
2005
FDI inflows (USD million) 16 778 56 214 164 530 49/141
Source : UNCTAD - World Investment Report
Note : (*) World Rank = UNCTAD Inward FDI Performance Index. It is a measure of the extend to which a host country receives inward FDI relative to its economic size. It is calculated as a ratio of the country's share in global FDI inflows to its share in global GDP.

 

Last modified in 2006 - ongoing update
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