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Companies may choose one of the following corporate forms:
✓ The Corporation / S.A. (Anonymos Eteria-AE);
✓ The Limited-Liability Company (Eteria Periorismenis Efthinis—EPE);
✓ The Private Capital Company (Idiotiki Kefalaiouhiki Eteria-IKE);
✓ The General Partnership (Οmorrythmi Eteria-OE); or
✓ The Limited Partnership (Eterorrythmi Eteria-EE).
In addition, a company may organised as a branch. An individual can also form a Single-Partner Limited-Liability Company (Monoprosopi Eteria Periorismenis Efthinis—M.EPE. Although sole proprietorship (Idiotiki Kefaleouhiki Eteria-IKE) have been a common way to conduct business in Greece for some time, Law 4072/2012, passed in April 2012, formally established them as legal entities. Greece has also transposed into national law EU legislation to create an EU-wide company (Societas Europaea—SE).
Anonymos Eteria (AE)
Foreign companies almost invariably choose to form an Anonymos Eteria – AE, or corporation. AE formation is covered in Codified Law 2190/1920, which has been amended repeatedly, with an extensive overhaul in July 2007 (Law 3604/2007). The minimum capitalization to form an AE is €24,000; Under the one-stop-shop legislation (Law 3853/2010), companies can submit their articles of association directly to the General Commercial Registry without prior approval by regional authorities, unless they are companies having special activity (such as banks, insurance companies, investment-services companies and listed companies); these need to have their articles approved by the Ministry of Development.
AEs must distribute at least 35% of net annual profits as dividends, unless the general assembly decides otherwise by a majority representing 65%. The retained earnings would then be placed in a reserve account and must be capitalized within four years. (However, a majority of 70% of the general assembly may decide to deviate from that rule.) There are special terms for other companies in the public sector and the financial sector and for companies involved in maritime business.
Eteria Periorismenis Efthinis (EPE)
An Eteria Periorismenis Efthinis – EPE, or a Limited-Liability Company, is governed by Law 3190/1955 and is considered a commercial company regardless of whether that is its purpose. It has lower minimum-capital requirements, of €2,400. EPEs may not issue bonds. The articles of association of an EPE must be registered with the General Commercial Registry. This can be done through the one-stop-shop procedure.
In line with the European Union’s 12th Council Company Law Directive (89/667/EEC), an individual may form a single-partner limited-liability company, but may not participate in more than one company of this type. The articles of association must be filed with the Register of Limited Companies kept by the Court of First Instance.
Idiotiki Kefalaiouhiki Etairia (IKE)
An Idiotiki Kefalaiouhiki Eteria – IKE, or a Sole Proprietorship, was introduced as a new company type into the Greek legal system by Law 4072/2012, of April 2012. The IKE is considered a more flexible alternative to the limited liability company. An IKE can be started with one partner, and has a minimum start-up capital of €1.
✓ Preparation of the documentation needed by the Bank’s legal department.
✓ Support during the approval procedure and the bank account opening procedure.
✓ Archive preparation
✓ Classification choice
✓ Electronic registration
The most important developments in 2017 for setting up business in Greece