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Doing Business in Greece
 
 
 

Forms of Business Organisation

Companies may choose one of the following corporate forms:

  • the corporation (AE);
  • the limited liability company (EPE);
  • the general partnership; or
  • the limited partnership.

In addition, a company may organise as a branch. An individual can form a single-partner limited liability company. Greece has also transposed into national law EU legislation to create a Societas Europaea.

The requirements of an AE are:

Capital

The minimum share capital requirement of an AE, or corporation, is €60,000, which must be fully paid in cash, in kind or in any combination thereof within two months following the establishment of the company.

The law allows partial payment of the share capital if:

  • at least 25% of the nominal value of each share has been fully paid up;
  • the share capital is fully paid up within ten years; and
  • until the full payment, the shares must be registered.

Contributions in kind are reviewed by a special committee of the Ministry of Development before the shares are issued. Partial payment in kind is prohibited.

Founders & Shareholders

There are no limits on nationality or residence. Incorporation requires at least two shareholders, either individuals or legal entities; after incorporation, all shares may be transferred to and held by one shareholder.

Administration, management. The administration of an AE is carried out by the shareholders at meetings of the general assembly and by the board of directors. The management of the company is carried out by the board of directors, which are comprised of at least three members. Unless otherwise specified by law or the articles of association of an AE, the board of directors represents and binds the company in all matters. Directors’ powers may be delegated to company officials or third parties, subject to specific conditions. Every member of the board is legally responsible for any fault (fraud or negligence) committed during the management of the company or arising from a breach of the member’s duties imposed by law, the articles of association or a resolution of the shareholders, unless it is shown that the member managed the company’s affairs with proper diligence. This does not apply to the managing director, who must exercise his duties with utmost due diligence.

Disclosure

The annual financial statements must be filed with the Companies Registry and be published in the Government Gazette, in one daily financial newspaper and in one general political newspaper issued in Athens at least 20 days before the meeting of the general assembly. Companies that have a seat outside the municipality of Athens must also publish their financial statements in one general newspaper issued in the municipality or district of the registered seat.

An AE must have its annual financial statements audited by two auditors appointed by the shareholders. Entities that satisfy two of the three following criteria in two previous accounting years must be audited by a recognised firm of certified auditors:

  • assets of more than €1.5m;
  • gross revenues of more than €3m; or
  • more than 50 employees during the year in question.

Companies listed on the Athens Stock Exchange must publish quarterly, semi-annual and annual audited financial statements, and must report any changes in qualifying holdings.


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