Public Limited Companies

A Public Limited Company (PLC) must have a minimum of seven members, the liability of the members is limited to the amount, if any, unpaid on shares held by them.

The nominal value of the company’s allotted share capital must not be less than €38,092, at least 25% of which must be fully paid up before the company commences business or exercises any borrowing powers. A PLC is incorporated where a company intends to seek a listing on the Stock Exchange or where a major Business Expansion Scheme is being formulated. There is no restriction on the number of shareholders.

The majority of PLC’s operate as private companies employing the PLC suffix, a prestige marketing tool. Nevertheless, even a PLC, which has not sought a public stock exchange listing, must adhere to the requirements of Irish legislation. The most important differences are that there must be a minimum paid up capital of at least €63,500 with, at least, one quarter of that sum being immediately and fully paid up.

Public limited companies have many of the characteristics of private limited companies with the key differences being that shares in a PLC are freely transferable. There is no restriction on the number of members but the minimum number is seven. Shares may be issued to the public and may be listed on the stock exchange. As with private limited companies, the constitution sets out the rules of the company. Only a public company may offer shares or debentures to the public, although these need not necessarily be quoted or dealt with on a stock exchange.