Introduction

Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic is a country in southeastern Europe. Greece’s population is approximately 10.955 million as of 2015. Athens is the nation’s capital and largest city, followed by Thessaloniki. Greece is considered the cradle of Western civilization, being the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, Western literature, historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, and Western drama. Greece is a democratic and developed country with an advanced high-income economy, a high quality of life, and a very high standard of living. A founding member of the United Nations, Greece was the tenth member to join the European Communities (precursor to the European Union) and has been part of the Eurozone since 2001.

Language

The official and spoken dialect of Greece is Greek.

Economy

Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic is a nation in southeastern Europe. Greece’s populace is roughly 10.955 million starting at 2015. Athens is the country’s capital and biggest city, trailed by Thessaloniki. Greece is viewed as the support of Western human advancement, being the origination of democracy, Western reasoning, the Olympic Games, Western writing, historiography, political science, major logical and numerical standards, and Western dramatization. Greece is a democratic and created nation with a propelled high-wage economy, a high caliber of life, and an elevated requirement of living. An establishing individual from the United Nations, Greece was the tenth part to join the European Communities (forerunner to the European Union) and has been a piece of the Eurozone since 2001.

Business Entities and Formation of Company in Greece

Greece is used by many investors as an entry to Southeast Europe and the Middle East, in fact is the only country in the region that is both a EU and EMU member(this provides monetary and exchange rate stability). Investors looking to start a business in Greece are encouraged by the low bureaucracy, for instance it takes 10 days to open a new business if the basic requirements are met.  Company incorporation in Greece starts with choosing the type of company which can be open in accordance to their requirements, draft the company’s articles of association or the memorandum of association, chose a registered office and elect an accountant for the company.

Business Entities in Greece

Greek company law provides several options for establishing a business entity in Greece. Greek company law provides for companies incorporated in Greece to be either personal or capital-based. The basic business entities under Greek law, similar to French, are:

Limited Liability Company (EPE)

A Greek Limited Liability Company is designated to business at a smaller scale, having a minimum required capital of EUR 4.500. The limited liability company may be also formed by at least two partners, Greek or foreigners, but can be managed by only one director. The liability of the partners is limited to the sum invested by each one. The share capital must be fully subscribed and paid up at formation, at least half of it in cash. The directors of a Greek limited liability company must own shares. A limited liability company can be established by one person, but in this case its name becomes “one person limited liability company”.

Can be formed by one or more natural or legal persons.

  • It can carry on almost any type of business, with some exceptions reserved for the AE (banks, insurance companies, etc.).
  • Limited liability of all partners.
  • Incorporation within 4-5 working days through the “one-stop-shop”, i.e. a Greek notary public.
  • One or more directors. The director is only liable towards the company, but can also be liable towards third parties, in case he / she has acted in fault; the director is also personally liable for company taxes & insurance contributions towards the Greek state and the Greek private employee’s fund.
  • Subject to Greek corporate income tax of 20%. Dividends distributed to partners are subject to withholding tax of 25%; there is an exception to that for foreign parent companies situated in another EU country, as per the “parent-subsidiary directive” and also certain double tax treaties with some countries.

Company Limited by Shares

The company limited by shares, or the stock corporation is designed for major companies. It may be formed by at least two individuals who are Greek, or foreign residents. The owner’s liability is limited to the amount of capital invested, which in total cannot be less than EUR 60.000. The capital must be paid up entirely and the equity is owned in stocks. The nominal value varies from EUR 0, 30 to EUR 100 per share. The directors of a stock corporation are independent, without the obligation to own shares.

General Partnership

General partnerships consist of at least two partners whose responsibility is unrestricted. The greatest advantage of the O.E in Greece is that there is no minimum capital required.

If is stipulated in the agreement, the partners can decide who will be responsible for the management of the partnership and agree how the losses will be covered and the profits will be shared. If the agreement doesn’t contain this information than the partners are equally responsible for the management decision and will share the profits and the losses.

 

Limited Partnership

The Limited Partnership is formed by two or three partners, with no minimum capital required. At least one of them is the limited partner and its liability depends on the amount of the contribution. He has no management responsibility.

Minimum one is the general partner, and it’s responsible for the company’s management.

Silent Partnership

The Greek Silent Partnership is formed by one silent partner (with liability that depends on the invested capital and with possibility to enter into business trades) and one active partner (with unlimited liability and with capacity to gain trade identity).

Joint Ventures

The main difference between a joint venture and a partnership is that a joint venture is not requiring a relationship without interruption between the members.

It is formed by legal or natural persons who follow a particular transaction for a mutual benefit.

Single Traders

Greek single traders have full liability for the debts of their companies and may benefit from gains produced by it.

Branch Offices

For opening a branch in Greece, some documents (officially translated into Greek) must be submitted for approval: constitutional documents of the parent company, a certificate from the Chamber of Commerce certifying that the parent company is in good form, a certificate attesting the share capital, statement of the registered office of the subsidiary, minutes of the Board of Directors meeting which gave one of the members power of investing power attorney and point a process agent.

Company Formation of Greece

In the beginning of the company incorporation process in Greece, the entrepreneurs must be aware that all the entities registered in Greece must have a unique name so it’s advisable to check the desired name at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry which will issue an evidence of name uniqueness. After getting this proof, the entrepreneurs must file the company documents with Athens Bar Association and sign the articles of incorporation in front of a notary public.

The minimum share capital or the initial capital must be deposit in a bank account and the capital tax on the concentration of capital must be paid within 15 days of signing the articles of association.

 

All the above documents must be delivered to the secretariat of the court of first instance, which will raise a registration number. A summary of the articles of association must be delivered to the National Printing Office in order to be published in the Greek National Gazette. In the same time, an application for registration at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry must be delivered. Along with the notarized articles of incorporation, the certification of the approval of the company name issued by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a copy of the Official Gazette containing the summary of the articles of association must be deposited. This way the newly formed company is registered for the specific taxes and the social security contributions.

The next step in setting up a Greek company consists of creating a company seal with the purpose of sealing the company books and records, before certifying. The company’s invoice and account books must receive the Tax Authority hole-stamp.

The last step of company incorporation in Greece consists in notifying the Manpower Employment Organization which must be performed within 8 days of hiring its first employee, via e-mail or phone.