Enterprise Greece, Investment and Trade Promotion Agency of Greece, has recently issued a new publication on the subject of “Setting up a company in Greece”, providing all the basic information regarding the requirements and steps necessary to start a company, subsidiary or branch in Greece, from the available forms of companies to the procedures, time and cost required.
Setting up a company in Greece
The booklet starts by listing the services that can be contacted in order to set up a company in Greece. Depending on the legal form and the type of the constitutional documents i.e. notarised document containing the company’s Articles of Association or a private document using the “Model AoA”, the establishment may be done by a notary public, by the General Commercial Registry (G.E.MI.) or by the Electronic One-stop shop Service (e-YMS). The typical time required for the establishment of any form of company is two working days.
The available forms of companies and enterprises in Greece are then listed; these fall under three general categories.
1. Individual Enterprises: This form is used by sole traders and freelance professionals. It is easy to set up and gives high flexibility and initiative to the entrepreneur.
2. Personal Companies: These include the General Partnership (G.P./O.E.), which is an association of two or more (natural or legal) persons, the Limited Partnership (E.E.), a variant of the previous whith differences regarding the scope of responsibility, and the Joint Venture, a company without a legal personality.
Also, foreign companies may establish an office or a company in Greece with the purpose of providing exclusively services, such as consulting services, centralised accounting support, quality control of production marketing services, data processing, receipt and supply of information and research and development services etc. to their head offices or to their affiliates that are not established in Greece, via bank remittances (Office/company of Law 89 as revised by Law 3427/2005 [Α’312]).
Foreign shipping entities may also establish an office or branch in Greece. The office/branch may engage exclusively in activities related to the management, operation, brokerage, chartering, average adjustment and insurance of non-passenger ships and the representation of foreign ship owning entities or of other foreign shipping entities engaged in similar activities (Office/branch of foreign shipping companies of Law 27/1975 [A’77]).
3. Capital Companies: These include the Limited Liability Company (E.P.E.), a commercial company by law, liable for its debts with its assets, the Private Capital Company (IKE), a private capital company which has capital and the liability of its members for the company debts, except for those with guarantee contribution, is limited, and the Company Limited by Shares - Société Anonyme (S.A.), a capital company with legal personality, which is responsible for its debts with its assets.
The booklet contains information on all the aforementioned forms of companies regarding issues such as prerequisites set by law, legal personality and publicity, liability, company name etc. The procedures, time and cost required for establishing a company are then described, including a list of the required documents and instructions on the steps that should be taken.
Enterprise Greece publications
Enterprise Greece is the official agency of the Greek State, under the auspices of the Ministry of Economy and Development, to promote investment in Greece, exports from Greece, and make the country more attractive as an international business partner. It promotes Greece as an investment destination, especially in the key sectors in which the country offers a highly compelling advantage: tourism, energy, food and agriculture, logistics, ICT, environmental management, and life sciences.
To this end, the organisation has issued a number of publications on several subjects, such as the General Licensing Procedure for RES (Renewable Energy Sources), a Brief Guide to Residence Permits for investment activity in Greece, a Brief Guide to Residence Permits for real estate owners in Greece, the Licensing Procedure for Tourism Investment Projects and the Licensing Procedure for Investments in Pharmaceutical Cannabis. The guides are always published in English, and are often available in other languages including Greek, Russian, Chinese and Arabic.
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