United Kingdom Public Companies

United Kingdom public companies are not a very popular international product since they have to pay UK corporation tax and additionally cannot be formed in such a simple and cost efficient manner. They require capitalization, see below, which means that forming a UK Plc is a significant undertaking. UK public companies have the various pros and cons associated with UK private companies outlined in our main article on UK private companies. For a discussion on the benefits of public companies to private companies generally please see our main article on public companies in the products section of the website.

Administrative Matters
In most particulars the administration is the same as for private companies (outlined in our main article on UK private companies) however public companies must have a minimum share capital, see below, and must have two directors rather that one and must have a secretary.

Share Capital
Uk public companies must have a share capital of 50,000  GBP of which 25% must be paid up which means a capitalisation costs of at least 12,500 GBP. In addition there is an obligation on the shareholders to pay the remaining 75% if called, though in the case of close companies this will not be relevant since it will never be called in the normal course of events.

Unlike UK private companies, UK Plcs can be floated (or listed) on a stock exchange but this is not compulsory (and the vast majority of them are not). Flotation on the UK markets is a highly involved and costly process and it is generally preferable to register elsewhere where this is suitable within the intended business plan. Malta, for example, affords a much more straightforward route to flotation. Due to its relatively tiny size access to the regulator and listing authorities is much easier.

The same provisions for banking apply to public companies as to private companies, there is no requirement for the company to bank in the UK and UK companies can bank anywhere.

Nominee Services

Nominee shareholders, nominee director and company secretarial services are available from many service providers in the UK. For a discussion of the pros and cons of nominee services please see our main article in the products section. Nominee directors issue a full power of attorney to an agreed third party and act as director in name alone in order to conceal the identity of the real managers of the company.

It is possible to form Plcs in other countries with less strict capitalization requirements, such as the Isle of Man where no capitalisation at all is required. If the intention is to achieve a listed company then the most straightforward and cost effective route is a Maltese public company.