Company formation Registration - HOME

Incorporating a company
Choosing a company name
Sensitive words and expressions
Objections to company names
Directors and secretaries
Public companies
Community Interest Companies
Right To Manage companies and Commonhold Associations
Disclosure of company name and specified other information
Business names
Quality of documents
Further information

Public companies

1. What are the requirements a public company must meet?

A public company must meet the following requirements:
it must have at least two directors (who may also be members of the company);
it must have at least one director who is an individual;
all individual directors must be aged 16 or over;
it must have at least one secretary;
the secretary must be qualified in one or more of the following ways:

he has held the office of secretary of a public company for at least three of the five years before their appointment; or
he is a barrister, advocate or solicitor called or admitted in any part of the United Kingdom; or
he is a person who, by virtue of his or her previous experience or membership of another body, appears to the directors to be capable of discharging the functions of secretary; or
he is a member of any of the following bodies:
- the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales;
- the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland;
- the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland;
- the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators;
- the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants;
- the Chartered Institute of Management; or
- the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy.

2. When can a public company start business?

A company incorporated as a public limited company cannot conduct business or exercise borrowing powers unless it has obtained a trading certificate from Companies House, confirming that it has the minimum allotted share capital. You will need to deliver the ‘Application for a trading certificate for a public company’ (Form SH50). It is an offence to trade without a trading certificate and the directors are liable, on conviction, to a fine.

Different rules apply if you intend to re-register from a private company limited by shares or a private unlimited company to a public company. Further information on share capital and trading certificates is explained in our ‘Life of a Company – Part 2 Event Driven Filings’ guide.

Please note the name of a public company must end with 'Public Limited Company', or 'PLC' or, if it is a company whose registered office is stated as being in Wales, 'Cwmni Cyfyngedig Cyhoeddus' or 'CCC' .