Private Limited Company vs. Public Limited Company – Differences

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What is a Public Limited Company (PLC)?

The abbreviation PLC, or public limited company, is used to refer to companies that have opened up their stock to outside investors, including the general public. The term “limited” indicates the company’s limited liability, which prevents shareholders and owners from being held liable for the obligations of the business. Investors are only liable for the value of their shares as the corporation has a separate legal status.

Different share classes, including cumulative preference and ordinary shares, are available for public limited companies to issue. Due to their ability to issue shares, PLCs can raise substantial amounts of capital as needed. The general public, mutual funds, hedge funds, and traders are potential buyers of these shares.

difference between limited and public limited company

What is a Private limited company

Similar to a PLC, a private limited company offers its owners and stockholders limited liability. This indicates that their potential financial loss in the event of bankruptcy is limited by the amount that they invested. Owners and investors are more protected in this way, particularly when it comes to their personal property.

The “Ltd.” prefix in a firm’s name signifies that it is a private limited corporation. Because it is regarded as an independent legal entity, it can offer limited liability. While investors normally can only purchase shares through private sales and with board clearance, a private limited corporation can have one or more owners.

The organization does business as a separate legal entity with its own finances, liabilities, and expenses. Only directors or owners may use business funds for their personal salaries, loans, or dividend schemes. Many limited corporations pay taxes on their profits and provide dividends to shareholders. The inability of limited firms to list on the stock exchange or issue shares to the general public is an important feature of these businesses.


Minimum capital requirements

The bare minimum share capital required to form a limited company is just £1. A public limited corporation must, however, have a certain amount of share capital.


A public limited corporation must publish a prospectus before selling shares to the general public. A limited business, on the other hand, is not required to do this.


The ownership arrangements of a limited corporation and a public limited company are one of their primary differences. A public limited company is owned by the public, allowing anybody to buy and sell its shares, as opposed to a limited corporation, which can be owned by people or other businesses. A limited company must have at least one shareholder, while a public limited company must have at least multiple shareholders.

Disclosure requirements

Public limited corporations are subject to stronger disclosure laws than limited companies. The public must have access to the financial statements and other information of public limited corporations.


Shareholders in a limited corporation are only legally responsible for the amount they invested in the business. This means that shareholders are only responsible for their initial investment if the company experiences financial difficulties or legal action. In a public limited corporation, shareholders likewise have limited liability and are not held personally liable for the liabilities of the firm.

Board of Directors

A public limited company requires a minimum of two directors, whereas a limited corporation can be managed by just one.

Share transfer

Share transfers are allowed in limited companies with the approval of the other shareholders. A public limited company’s shares, however, can be freely traded on a stock exchange.

Public opinion

A public limited company is often seen as more prestigious and reliable than a limited firm in the commercial world. This is mostly due to the fact that a public limited company provides better transparency and allows for unrestricted stock exchange trading of its shares. As a result, public limited firms are in a better position to raise money and draw in investors.


A limited company may use “limited” or “ltd” in its name, whereas a public limited company must use the terms “public limited company” or “plc” in its name.


Separate legal entity

PLCs and LTDs are both recognized as separate legal entities that are not related to their shareholders or directors. Due to this, the business is able to enter into contracts, own property, and bring lawsuits on its own account.

Corporate governance

Both kinds of businesses must set up a board of directors whose job it is to monitor the operation of the business. Their duties include making strategic decisions, supervising the business’s operations, and ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations.


Both PLCs and LTDs have stakeholders that own stock in the business. These stockholders are eligible for dividend payments as well as any gains in the share price.

Limited liability

In the event that the company experiences financial difficulties or bankruptcy, shareholders’ personal assets are protected due to the limited liability protection provided by both PLCs and LTDs. As a result, stockholders may relax knowing that their personal finances are secure.

Reporting and registration

Both PLCs and LTDs are subject to the local company registry’s registration and reporting regulations. This involves submitting annual financial reports and other relevant paperwork. This procedure makes sure that the business runs transparently and is answerable to its stakeholders and shareholders.

Company formation

Both kinds of companies must go through a formal registration procedure with the companies register in order to be formally created and to carry out their business operations.

Reach out to us at Relin Consultants for more information.


What is a public limited company?

A public limited company is a special kind of business where ownership is open to all people and shares can be traded on the stock exchange. There is no restriction on the number of stockholders it may have.

Can shares be freely traded in a limited company?

No, only with the approval of the other shareholders may shares of a limited corporation be transferred.

What is a limited company?

A limited company is a business structure in which the shareholders’ liability is limited. It can have a maximum of 50 shareholders and can be owned by one or more people or businesses.

Are there any differences in the tax treatment of limited and public limited companies?

No, both sorts of businesses are subject to the same tax laws in the nation in which they conduct business.

Can shares be freely traded in a public limited company?

Yes, unrestricted trading of public limited company shares is possible on stock exchanges.

Which type of company is better for raising capital?

Because its shares can be exchanged on a stock exchange, a public limited company is typically thought to be superior for generating capital because it is simpler to draw investors and raise money.

Can a limited company convert into a public limited company?

Yes, a limited company may change its status to that of a public limited company by following the proper procedures and fulfilling the necessary conditions.

Can an LTD director become personally liable?

Despite the limited liability of an LTD, a director may still be held personally liable in certain situations. The corporation could file for bankruptcy if the director acted unlawfully or against the interests of the company’s creditors. This is because limited liability protection usually fails when directors personally guarantee loans to LTDs.

What is a prospectus, and when is it required?

A prospectus is a legal document that informs potential investors about the operations, financial standing, and future prospects of a firm. A prospectus must be published by a public limited company before it can sell shares to the general public.