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What is a Private Company: Features, Types, and Everything You Need to Know

Private Company

Choosing the appropriate business structure is essential when launching a new company. It allows you to streamline and expand your business processes. If you have a business idea and wish to start a business in India, you are required by law to register your firm as a particular form of company. One of the types of companies that can be registered under the companies act of 2013 is a private company. If you want to learn more about creating a private limited company, this comprehensive guide includes all you need.

Let’s begin with the definition of a private company.

What is a Private Company?

A private limited company is a legally recognised business entity that is privately held and owned by private stakeholders. Section 2(68) of the companies act, 2013 defines the legal phrases applicable to this sort of corporation. According to this definition, private firms are those whose articles of association limit the transferability of shares and prohibit the general public from subscribing. This is the fundamental distinction between private and public companies. Additionally, it ensures financial transparency and minimises shareholder liability (in relation to the number of shares held by them).
You should also be aware of:

  • Private limited corporations can be further subdivided into limited by shares, limited by guarantee, and limitless firms.
  • It can have no more than 200 members.
  • A minimum of two directors are required to form a private limited company.

How a Private Company works

Occasionally, private companies are referred to as privately held companies. There are four primary forms of private companies: sole proprietorships, limited liability corporations (LLCs), S corporations (S-corps), and C corporations (C-corps), all of which have distinct shareholder, member, and taxation regulations.

All enterprises in the United States begin as privately held businesses. Private enterprises vary in size and scale, ranging from the millions of privately owned businesses in the United States to the dozens of global unicorn startups. Even U.S. corporations with over $100 billion in yearly revenue, come under the private company umbrella.

Remaining a private company can make it more difficult to get capital, which is why many major private companies seek to go public through an IPO. While private companies have access to bank loans and certain types of equity financing, public companies may typically sell shares or raise funds through bond issues with more ease.

Private Company

Features of Private Company

These features distinguish private firms from other forms of organisations:

1. No minimum capital is required

The former minimum paid-up share capital requirement of Rs. 1 lakh has been eliminated.

2. Members

A private corporation can have as few as two members (or only one in the case of one person company) and as maximum as 200 members.

3. Restricted transferability of shares

Private corporations cannot freely transfer their shares to the general public, as public corporations can. Stock markets never list private companies for this reason.

4. “Private Limited”

Every private company must include “Private Limited” or “Pvt. Ltd.” in its name.

5. Dispensations and exemptions

Since private firms cannot freely transfer their shares and their members have limited interest, the law has allowed them various exemptions that are not available to public companies

6. Residential status

One of the people in charge must be an Indian citizen. The remaining directors may be foreign nationals.

7. Limited liability

As each member’s responsibility is restricted, his or her personal assets will not be used to cover the company’s debts in the event of financial hardship.

8. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

Any foreign business or individual can directly invest in a private company, as 100% FDI is permitted.

9. Credibility

The company’s information is published in a public database, which enhances its credibility by facilitating the authentication of the information.

Types of Private Companies

There are three sorts of private corporations based on their members’ liabilities:

1. Limited by shares

The members’ responsibility is limited to the amount owed to the firm in relation to the shares they own.

2. Limited by guarantee

Here, the members’ liabilities are restricted to the amount of money they have guaranteed to pay if the company is liquidated.

3. Unlimited liability

In these types of private corporations, members’ liability is unlimited. Personal assets of members are subject to attachment and sale during the dissolution of the company.

Further, a private corporation can also be a one-person company, based on the number of its members. The promoter of these companies is a single member or stakeholder. The 2013 companies act introduced these types of corporations.

Under Indian company law, even small companies with limited paid-up share capitals and turnover quantities, as stated by Section 2(85), are considered private companies.

Formation of Private Companies

  • A minimum of 2 and a maximum of 200 members can form a private company by submitting an application to the Registrar of Companies along with a signed copy of their memorandum of association and other appropriate papers, along with payment of the stipulated fees.
  • The Memorandum must include the company’s name (which must include “Private Limited”), its registered office address, its aims and purposes, and the extent of the liabilities of its members. In addition, it must list the subscribers to the memorandum.
  • In addition, the companies act prescribes various other compliances, such as those pertaining to the names of private companies, their articles of association, member information, transferability of shares, etc.

Privileges of Private Companies

The companies act has given private companies certain rights and exemptions that public companies do not have. These rights give them more freedom in how they run their businesses. Here are some examples of them:

  • No need to prepare a report for annual general meetings.
  • Only 2 minimum directors are required.
  • No need to appoint independent directors.
  • They can come up with more reasons why a board member should be removed from office or disqualified.
  • They can pay their directors a higher salary than some other types of companies.

Limitations of Private Companies

A private limited company is the best business entity for the vast majority of medium and large businesses since it provides a variety of benefits, including liability protection and simple transferability. However, functioning as a private company is not the best choice for all organisations, particularly micro or small businesses. Let’s examine the downsides of a private company.

1. Registration process

Registration of a private limited company typically takes 10 to 15 days and costs more than 10000. Consequently, registering a limited liability company includes a procedure and expenses that do not apply to unregistered entities such as sole proprietorships. However, once incorporated, a private company enjoys a wide range of powers and rights, making the process of opening a bank account or acquiring a payment gateway straightforward. As unregistered business entities, sole proprietorships and partnerships frequently meet difficulties when attempting to open a bank account or obtain a payment gateway following registration.

2. Compliance procedures

Post-incorporation, a private company must adhere to a number of regulations. Each year, all corporations must hold board meetings, and general meetings, have their financial statements audited, keep a statutory register, and file an annual return with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. In addition to corporate compliance requirements, a corporation must also maintain compliance with tax and labour rules, which apply regardless of the business entity structure.

3. Division of ownership

Private limited companies have the significant drawback of requiring a minimum of two individuals to serve as directors and shareholders. Therefore, a sole proprietor who desires to establish and run a firm alone cannot form a limited liability company. Therefore, any big business decision would always require the approval of two individuals. Even if one shareholder holds a minor quantity of stock, the corporation must have at least two stockholders.

Private Company

4. Personal liability

The firm bears full responsibility for its debt and has infinite liability. Members of a firm are the only ones who receive limited liability protection. However, in the following instances, directors and members would also be personally liable:
When the company’s name is misspelled in an act or contract, people who actually performed the act or entered into the contract are personally accountable.
When a company’s operation has been conducted with the intent to mislead its creditors during its liquidation, anyone who knowingly participated in such conduct is personally liable for the company’s debts.

5. Closing of a company

Compared to an unregistered partnership, the procedure for dissolving a company can be more difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. Therefore, it is crucial to forming a company only when the founders intend to use it to do business.

Examples of Private Limited Companies

1. Rajiv co-owns a clothing store with his two brothers. They wanted to broaden their business by establishing a clothing manufacturing firm. In this regard, they are experiencing some financial challenges.
For instance, their collective capital is only Rs. 80,000. In addition, they aim to minimise their responsibilities due to their financial deficiencies. Can they start a private company under these circumstances?

Answer: In such circumstances, Rajiv and his brothers can certainly incorporate a company. Although the companies act originally required minimum capital of Rs. 1 lakh, this condition has been eliminated. Regarding the second criteria, clients might choose between a limited by shares or a limited by guarantee firm.

2. Describe briefly the steps Rajiv and his brothers will need to take to establish their company.

Answer: First, they must file a completed application with the registrar of companies together with the required costs. This application must be supported by the company’s memorandum and articles of association. This memorandum will have information like the name of their company, which will be followed by “Pvt. Ltd.”, objectives, office address, etc.
The act then compels people to disclose their personal information to the Registrar. The firm will become active after the Registrar issues them a certificate of incorporation.

Conclusion

Even though a private limited company is one of the best types of companies for small and medium-sized businesses that are family-owned or managed by professionals, compliance requirements are not to be taken lightly. From a business point of view, it takes time and work, and you need to know a lot about money as well. In addition to the above, if you want to make sure you’re following the rules, you have to make sure you’re following the companies act 2013 and any other relevant rules. If you don’t, you’ll have to pay a lot of money.

If the company is compliant, it would be a big plus for the company because it would give the company a competitive edge and build trust and confidence among all of the people who deal with the company. Compliance can’t be treated like “checking a box”; instead, you have to do the right thing according to the rules. It’s important to remember that the cost of not following the rules is always more than the cost of following the rules. Private companies could get help from professionals who are qualified to do so. These professionals would help the company at each stage of its business cycle, starting with incorporation and going forward. This way, the company could make sure it was following all the rules.

FAQs

1. What is the meaning of a Private Company?

Ans: Section 2(68) of the companies act, 2013 defines the legal phrases applicable to this sort of corporation. According to this definition, private firms are those whose articles of association limit the transferability of shares and prohibit the general public from subscribing.

2. Is a Private Company better than a public business?

Ans: Private companies have an advantage over public companies when it comes to investing in long-term strategies, keeping the values of their shares and financial numbers private, and running their businesses with freedom and flexibility.

3. What is the maximum number of members in a Private Company?

Ans: In a private company, there must be at least 2 directors and 2 members. All of these members have limited liability, and the maximum number that can be in the group has gone up from 50 to 200.

4. How much does it cost to start a Private Limited Company?

Ans: Setting up or registering a Pvt Ltd company usually costs different amounts, depending on the number of Directors, members, authorised share capital, and professional fees.

5. Is starting a Private Limited Company better than starting an LLP?

Ans: Both of these kinds of businesses have pros and cons. When it comes to long-term investments, many people think that a private limited company is better than an LLP. Before you register your company, you should know how the two are different.

6. What is compulsory for a Private Limited Company?

Ans: All private limited companies are required to have an annual general meeting within six months of the end of their financial year. Section 134 describes this.

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