Company Limited By Guarantee And Company Limited By Shares: Which One's For You?

Understand the differences between a company limited by guarantee and a company limited by shares, their advantages and disadvantages, and how to determine which structure best suits your business needs.
Company Limited By Guarantee And Company Limited By Shares: Which One's For You?

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction

  2. Company Limited By Shares

    1. Advantages

    2. Disadvantages

  3. Company Limited By Guarantee

    1. Advantages

    2. Disadvantages

  4. Choosing the Right Structure

  5. Conclusion


In the realm of business establishment, the importance of selecting the appropriate legal structure cannot be overstated. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive comparison between two prevalent business structures: company limited by shares and company limited by guarantee. By gaining a deeper understanding of the distinctions between these structures, you will be equipped to make an informed decision about which option best aligns with your specific business requirements.

Company Limited By Shares

A company limited by shares is a widely adopted business structure wherein the company's capital is divided into shares, and the liability of each shareholder is confined to the value of their respective shares. This structure is particularly prevalent among profit-oriented businesses and represents the most commonly utilized form of company formation.


  • Limited Liability: Shareholders are personally protected from financial liabilities beyond the value of their shares.

  • Capital Generation: Issuing shares facilitates capital acquisition from investors, making it easier to raise funds for business expansion.

  • Transferable Ownership: Shares can be easily transferred, offering flexibility for shareholders to exit or alter the ownership structure.


  • Administrative Complexity: Companies limited by shares involve more extensive record-keeping, reporting, and compliance obligations.

  • Profit Distribution: Profits are typically distributed as dividends to shareholders, potentially limiting the amount available for reinvestment in the business.

Company Limited By Guarantee

A company limited by guarantee is a business structure in which members commit to contributing a predetermined amount towards the company's liabilities in the event of liquidation. This particular structure is commonly employed by non-profit organizations, charities, and clubs, as it aligns well with their objectives and operating principles.


  • Limited Liability: Members have limited liability up to the agreed contribution amount, protecting their personal assets.

  • Suitable for Non-Profit Organizations: This structure is well-suited for entities with non-profit, charitable, or social objectives, as profits are reinvested in the organization's cause.

  • Reputation and Trust: Companies limited by guarantee often enjoy a perception of trustworthiness and reliability, which can attract donors and supporters


  • Limited Capital Access: Raising funds may be more challenging for companies limited by guarantee, as they cannot issue shares.

  • Lower Flexibility: This structure may not be ideal for businesses aiming for maximum profits or rapid scalability.

Choosing the Right Structure

Consider the following factors to determine the optimal structure for your business:

  1. Purpose: If maximizing profits and distributing dividends to shareholders are primary objectives, a company limited by shares is likely the better choice. Conversely, for organizations with charitable or non-profit goals, a company limited by guarantee may be more suitable.

  2. Capital Requirements: If equity investment is necessary to raise funds, a company limited by shares provides greater flexibility. However, if your organization relies on donations or grants, a company limited by guarantee may be preferable.

  3. Liability: Both structures offer limited liability protection, but the extent of liability varies. A company limited by shares limits liability to the value of shares held, while a company limited by guarantee limits liability to the agreed contribution amount.

  4. Regulatory Obligations: Companies limited by shares typically face more complex regulatory requirements, including annual reporting and compliance with securities regulations. Companies limited by guarantee may have fewer administrative burdens, but specific regulations apply, particularly for those with charitable status.


The choice between a company limited by shares and a company limited by guarantee hinges on business objectives, capital requirements, and desired liability protection. By understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each structure, you can make an informed decision tailored to your organization's needs. Consultation with legal and financial experts is recommended to ensure the selection aligns with your specific circumstances.

Subhash Ahlawat
Subhash Ahlawat
Apr 17
5 min read