In a limited company, the liability of members or subscribers of the company is limited to what they have invested or guaranteed to the company. Limited companies may be limited by shares or by guarantee. In a company limited by shares, the liability of members is limited to the unpaid value of shares. In a company limited by guarantee, the liability of owners is limited to such amount as the owners may undertake to contribute to the assets of the company, in the event of being wound up.
Public Limited Company
A public limited company can be publicly traded on a stock exchange; this is similar to the U.S. Corporation (Corp.) and the German Aktiengesellschaft (AG).
Has shareholders with limited liability and its shares may not be offered to the general public. Shareholders of private companies limited by shares are always bound to offer the shares to their fellow shareholders prior to selling them to a third party.
Private Company Limited By Guarantee
This is a company that does not have a share capital but is guaranteed by its members, who agree to pay a fixed amount in the event of the company's liquidation. Charitable organizations are often incorporated using this form of limited liability. Another example is the Financial Conduct Authority. In Australia, only an unlisted public company can be limited by a guarantee.
In Canada, a person wishing to register a limited company must file Articles of Incorporation with either their provincial government or the federal government. At the time of incorporation, a company must elect to use "Limited" (Ltd.), "Incorporated" (Inc.) or "Corporation" (Corp.) as part of their name.
In the United States, corporations have limited liability, and the expression corporation is preferred to limited company. A "limited liability company" (LLC) is a different entity. However, some states permit corporations to have the designation Ltd. to signify their corporate status. A limited company must file annual tax returns with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The registration of companies in the United Kingdom is done through Companies House, which operates offices in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast. Prior to 1 October 2009, the registration of companies in Northern Ireland was the responsibility of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment. On the commencement of the Companies Act 2006, Northern Ireland's previously distinct company law was repealed and the new companies code instituted by that Act was extended to Northern Ireland.