Glossary - Definition of Business & Commercial Terms
Glossario - Definizione dei Termini Societari & Commerciali

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PLC or Public Limited Company

A public limited company is a company which is registered as such and complies with the following: 

  • it must state that it is a public limited company both in its memorandum and in its name. The memorandum must contain a clause stating that it is a public limited company and the name must end with "Public Limited Company" or "PLC" (or the Welsh equivalents "Cwmni Cyfyngedig Cyhoeddus" or "CCC").

  • the memorandum must be in the form specified in Table F of the Companies (Tables A to F) Regulations 1985, or as near to that form as circumstances permits.

  • it must have an authorised share capital of at least £50,000.

  • before it can commence business, it must have allotted shares to the value of at least £50,000 a quarter of which, £12,500, must be paid up in cash. Each share allotted must be paid up to at least one quarter of its nominal value together with the whole of any premium.

Companies House regulations regarding PLCs are more stringent than for other limited companies. In particular a PLC has only seven moths from year end to file accounts. Private companies have 10 months.

PLC has access to capital markets and can offer its shares for sale to the public through a recognised Stock Exchange, and can issue advertisements offering any of its securities for sale to the public. In contrast a private company may not offer to the public any shares in that company.

However there is no requirement for a PLC to have stock market listing.


Ascertaining the will of the shareholders at a general meeting of the company by counting shareholders´ votes according to the size of their share holdings.

On a poll a proxy may vote.


The rights of existing shareholders granting them first option to acquire shares which are to be transferred or issued in proportion to their present share holding.

Preferential Creditor

In a winding up, those creditors who must be paid first, namely rates, taxes, wages of servants or clerk, DHSS payments etc.

Preference Shares

Preference shares rank before ordinary shares for repayment in the event of a liquidation. They usually carry preferential dividend rights but restricted voting rights.

Pre-Tax Profit

The residue (or loss) after all operating expenses (wages, rent, raw materials etc) have been subtracted from turnover.

Before deduction of tax, dividends, subventions or group relief, and other appropriations.

Where applicable it includes associated companies share of profits and losses.

Extraordinary items are excluded. Items described by the company as exceptional are included.

Private Company

All companies are private unless they are registered as a Public Limited Company.

Profit After Tax

Represents the profit/or loss after deduction of corporation taxation, but before the deduction of dividends, minority interests and extraordinary items.

Profit and Loss Account

The account of the business´s trading performance between two balance sheets, the P&L deals with sales, cost of sales, and the profit & loss a company has made in a period of time, usually a financial year.

  • Small companies file abbreviated balance sheet and notes - does not include profit and loss and employees 
  • Medium companies can file abbreviated profit and loss - does not include turnover 
  • Large companies file profit and loss -includes turnover


The name given to both the person who votes at a meeting on behalf of a member, and to the form the members use for appointing the representative – authorisation by a shareholder allowing another to vote his shares.

Public Limited Company (plc)

A type of company incorporated by registration under the Companies Act which may offer its shares to the public (a private company cannot do this) and is subject to a number of additional requirements under the Companies Act.

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