Types of German company and partnership

When starting a business in Germany, promoters are free to choose the legal form their new German business should take. Choosing the right legal form can affect your rights and obligations. Aspects such as investment capital, liability and administrative obligations all vary depending on the legal form you pick for your business. In addition, the choice of business legal form can affect trust, credibility and influence business partners’ willingness to do business.

The lawyers at WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE can help you decide which legal form is best for your business.

To give you a head start, we have created an overview of the types of company and partnership there are in Germany. This is followed by a more detailed description of the various legal forms and an overview of our services.

For further information on business legal forms, call our team of German lawyers on +49 (0) 221 / 951 563 0 or use our contact form.


Below is a table showing an overview of the forms of company and partnership that are best suited and therefore most often used for starting and managing a business in Germany.

GbR oHG KG PartG UG GmbH AG
Partnerships Ja Ja Ja Ja
Companies Ja Ja Ja
Minimum share capital Ja Ja Ja
Statutory reserve fund Ja
Shareholders’ personal liability Ja Ja Limited for limited partner Liability limited in certain circumstances
Cash investment Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja
Asset investment Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja
Formation by 1 person Ja Ja Ja
Compulsory entry in trade register Ja Ja Partnership register Ja Ja Ja
Notarisation of articles of association Ja Ja Ja

For more information on starting a business in Germany, call our team of lawyers on +49 (0) 221 / 951 563 0 or use our contact form.


Below you can find an introductory guide on the various company and partnership forms in Germany. Simply click on the business form you are interested in to view the information.

TYPES OF GERMAN COMPANY

typesofgermany
Types of German company include limited companies (GmbH), the so-called “mini limited” and public limited companies (AG). Find out more here.

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TYPES OF BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP

typesofbuisnessandpartnership
A range of business partnerships are available in Germany. This means the best structure can be chosen to suit business needs. Find an overview of German partnerships here.

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BRANCH OFFICES

branchoffice
Foreign investors may wish to establish a branch office in Germany instead of a company or partnership. Branch offices can be either autonomous or dependent. Read more here on branch offices.

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EUROPEAN BUSINESS FORMS

europanbuisnessforms
Various European business forms compliment national business structures. They enable businesses to trade throughout the EU under a single set of overarching rules. Find out more on the various European business forms here.

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FOREIGN BUSINESS FORMS

foreignbuisnessforms
There is the possibility of choosing a foreign business form. An example would be a UK-based private limited company. While this may offer advantages in terms of investment capital requirements, various administrative steps still need to be undertaken in Germany.

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OTHER OPERATING FORMS

otheroperatingforms
Numerous operating forms are available for other undertakings. Associations, societies, cooperatives, foundations and franchises are all discussed here under a German viewpoint.

 

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Here you can find an overview of our services in the area of starting a business in Germany. For further information, contact our team of German lawyers on +49 (0) 221 / 951 563 0 or use our contact form.

BASIC STANDARD PREMIUM BESPOKE
Advice on choosing suitable business form Ja Ja Ja Ja
Model articles of association – UG; standard partnership agreement – GbR Ja Ja Ja Ja
Modified standard partnership agreements – GbR, oHG, KG, PartG Ja Ja Ja
Bespoke partnership agreements/articles of association – GbR, oHG, KG, PartG, UG, GmbH Ja Ja
Articles of association / partnership agreements – AG, GmbH & Co. KG and other business forms Ja
Review of company name Ja Ja
Standard directors’ service contracts Ja Ja
1 hour additional legal advice Ja Ja Ja
Assessment of whether all important aspects have been considered (incl. directors’/representatives’ liability) Ja Ja Ja Ja
Provision of documents required for entry in the commercial register Ja Ja Ja Ja
Notary referral Ja Ja Ja Ja
Assistance with filling in documents required by notary Ja Ja Ja Ja
Advice on next steps Ja Ja Ja
Assistance with searching for grants and investors Ja
Legal notices Ja Ja Ja
Information pack on your chosen business form Ja Ja Ja Ja
Preis €495.00* €980.00* €1580.00* Available on request

* plus 19% VAT


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Christian Solmecke is a partner at the law firm WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE. He is the author of numerous legal publications in the area of internet and IT law. He is also an associate lecturer for social media law at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

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