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Legal formations in the UK

Even before you form a UK entity, our expertise can be indispensable. With over 20 years of quality experience as international chartered accountants, we can advise an overseas company on what type of entity to set up in the UK.

If you’re planning to establish a business presence in the UK, you will need detailed advice on which structure is right for your enterprise. Often, this will depend on your objectives and potential exit plan.

We believe every client is unique. Whatever you require, we will put together the ideal team of experts to assist you in taking your business to the next level.

UK establishment of an overseas entity

Your business only requires formal registration in the UK when it has a physical presence in the country, such as a place of business or a branch.

The Companies Act of 2006 governs company law in England and Wales. A foreign company is required to register as an establishment with Companies House within one month of commencing business in the UK.

Once registered, an overseas entity with a permanent establishment in the UK must file certain documents at UK Companies House. General information about the company, including its constituting documents and any accounts, are filed in accordance with the laws of the country in which it is incorporated. When these documents are filed, they become public record.

Establishing a company

There are four types of companies that you can create in the UK:

  • Private company limited by shares
    In this case, the members’ liability is limited to the equity they have invested or agreed to invest.
  • Private company limited by guarantee
    This type of company does not have a share capital. The members’ liability is limited to the amount that they have agreed to. This type of company is used principally for charitable organisations and clubs.
  • Private unlimited company
    There is no limit to the members’ liability in the event that the company is wound up.
  • Public limited company (PLC)
    The members’ liability is limited to the equity they have invested or agreed to invest. The shares of a PLC can be offered for sale to the general public and be quoted on the stock exchange.

We’ll help you decide which kind of company you should form. This decision will be informed and determined by your unique circumstances and needs.

How we can help with UK company formation

After consulting with us, you will have a clear idea of what type of entity you would like to set up in the UK. Once a decision is made we can start working together to make your business a success by:

  • Setting up and registering your entity as a UK branch, subsidiary, limited company or otherwise
  • Establishing a good working relationship with your bank
  • Registering your operation for Corporation Tax, VAT and PAYE
  • Appointing a company secretary - we can appoint ourselves and carry out the statutory company secretarial issues associated with this role
  • Setting up an address which can be used as your registered office

Find out more about UK company formation by getting in touch with one of our expert consultants.

South Africa

Cape Town

Regent Square
Doncaster Road
Kenilworth 7708 +27 (0) 21 657 2120


25 Richefond Circle
Umhlanga 4320 +27 (0) 31 536 8843

United Kingdom


Castlewood House
77/91 New Oxford Street
WC1A 1DG +44 (0) 20 7759 7514


5-7 Selsdon Road
South Croydon
CR2 6PU +44 (0) 20 7759 7581



9 Yarra Street
South Yarra
VIC 3141 +613 (0) 8651 4500

Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 07070528), registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (1st Contact Money [PTY] Ltd - FSP no. 41900) and hold an Australian Financial Services License issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (1st Contact Group - AFS License number 335 126).

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