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Companies Act 2006

Section 4: Private and public companies

21.This section restates section 1(3) of the 1985 Act. It provides definitions of “private company” and “public company.”

22.A “private company” is any company that is not a public company.

23.A “public company” is a company whose certificate of incorporation states that it is a public company. To obtain this certificate the company will need to comply with the provisions of the Act (or former Companies Acts) as regards registration or re-registration as a public company. There is a minimum share capital requirement (the “authorised minimum”), which is currently set at £50,000, and remains unchanged under the Act. In future the authorised minimum will however be capable of being satisfied in sterling or the euro equivalent to the prescribed sterling amount (see Chapter 2 of Part 20).

24.Section 4 also provides a signpost to Part 20 of the Act, which sets out key differences between public and private companies, for example, a private company may not offer shares to the public.

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