When a foreign investor decides to set up a company in Portugal, he must decide from the beginning upon the type of company he wants to establish. The Company Law in Portugal sets several types of structures that are legal here.
This type of company is the most common in Portugal. It is usually chosen by foreign investors who want to set up a small business in Portugal. At least two shareholders can establish a private limited company in Portugal, only if they provide a minimum share capital of EUR 5,000. Liability of the founders for company’s obligations only extends to their own contributions to the initial capital.
Foreign investors who want a medium or large sized company choose this type of structure. Public companies in Portugal require a minimum share capital of EUR 50,000 and at least five shareholders in order to be incorporated. Still, the founders are liable for the company’s obligations only to the extent of their contributions.
Partnerships in Portugal are only formed between at least two partners. In order to set up a limited partnership in Portugal, no minimum capital is required. Its particularity is that one partner has to be general and have full liability for the company’s obligations (socios comanditarias), while the other one must have limited liability (socios comanditados).
As well as limited partnerships, general partnerships also need at least two partners to incorporate them. No minimum capital is required here either. As opposed to the limited partnerships, all the members in a general partnership in Portugal are fully responsible for the company’s obligations and they are as well able to make decisions on behalf of the company and manage the company.
When only one founder decides to set up a company in Portugal, the only type he can incorporate is a company with a single shareholder. This type of structure is quite simple to set up, but it is rather rarely formed. The founder is liable only with the company’s assets.