Sociedade por Quotas (LDA)
Sociedade por Quotas is a private limited liability company, the share capital is divided into “quotas” of at least 1 euro each. There must be a minimum of 2 shareholders.
Sociedade Unipessoal por Quotas
Sociedade Unipessoal por Quotas is a Sole Trader Company, and is essentially a Sociedade Por Quotas (Lda) having a single shareholder.
Sociedade Anónima (SA)
Sociedade Anónima (SA), is a corporation/public limited company with a minimum capital of EUR 50,000, at least 30% of which must be paid on incorporation. Capital is represented by freely transferable shares, there must be an initial number of shareholders (5) to set up a Sociedade Anónima company. The SA is the most demanding entity in terms of regulatory compliance and, irrespective of size, its accounts have to be audited annually by a certified auditor (Revisor Oficial de Contas), a requirement that only applies to other business entities in case they exceed a certain size or have a regulated activity.
Holding Company (SGPS)
Where an Lda or an SA is essentially a holding company subject to applicable regulations, it may adopt the additional legal status of a regulated holding company, called Sociedade Gestora de Participações Sociais (SGPS). The advantages of this legal status lie essentially in the tax benefits it confers.
The branch (sucursal) of a non resident business entity is a permanent establishment that carries on a business activity in Portugal, its registration being mandatory should any activity be carried on (or intended to be carried on) for more than one year. It is a local extension of the represented business entity, without separate legal personality, the management of the branch being performed under delegation of powers by the owning entity. It is in practice treated as a domestic company regarding taxation and compliance; but unlike other jurisdictions there is no requirement to file the “parent’s” accounts in Portugal, and unlike a domestic company, the distribution of profits by the branch to the “parent” is not subject to any taxes.