In Germany, there are two types of companies: publicly traded and privately held.

The acronym 'GmbH', which is written after the name of the company, designates a company as private in Germany. The letters stand for Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung which, translated literally, means a 'company with limited liability'. GmbH companies are incorporated and, as such, are legal entities unto themselves. These companies must have a minimum of two partners and may be, but do not have to be, owned by a public company.

German companies that are publicly traded are designated as such by the letters 'AG' after the company name. 'AG' is an abbreviation for the German word Aktiengesellschaft, which literally translates to 'corporation' in English.

The laws of a country determine which types of companies are legally recognized within the country's borders. One of the most commonly used acronyms is 'PLC', which is used throughout the United Kingdom to indicate a Public Limited Company, or a company that is publicly traded with owners having limited liability. Throughout the world, 'S.A.' is used to indicate a privately held company, though its meaning varies depending on the country in which the company is registered. The words translate broadly as 'anonymous society' in English.

More information on company extensions can be found at http://www.corporateinformation.com/defext.asp.

  1. What's the difference between publicly- and privately-held companies?

    Privately-held companies are - no surprise here - privately held. This means that, in most cases, the company is owned by ... Read Answer >>
  2. What are some of the key reasons a large corporation might prefer to remain a private ...

    Understand the reasons why a large corporation would want to remain as private instead of going public through an initial ... Read Answer >>
  3. What advantages do corporations have over privately held companies?

    Learn about the chief advantages that publicly traded corporations have over other forms of business organizations, most ... Read Answer >>
  4. How does privatization affect a company's shareholders?

    The most recognized transition between the private and public markets is an initial public offering (IPO). Through an IPO, ... Read Answer >>
  5. What are the requirements for being a Public Limited Company?

    Discover the various different requirements that a company must meet in order to be recognized and traded as a public limited ... Read Answer >>
  6. Is a private company required to disclose financial information to the public?

    Understand whether a private company is required to disclose financial information to the public. Learn what is required ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Advantages of Public Vs. Private Companies

    A privately held company is owned by its founder, management or a group of private investors.
  2. Small Business

    Why Companies Stay Private

    Many private companies prefer to stay private and find alternate sources of capital. Find out what firms have to gain by eschewing the windfall from a flashy IPO.
  3. Managing Wealth

    How To Invest In Private Companies

    It can be tough to invest in a company that doesn't trade on an exchange, but there are also several advantages.
  4. Small Business

    What is a Private Company?

    A private company is any corporation that does not have shares publicly traded in the equity markets.
  5. Small Business

    How To Invest In Private Companies

    Owning a private firm means sharing more directly in the underlying firm’s profits.
  6. Small Business

    Public Vs. Private Tech Valuations: What's Driving the Divide?

    The gross valuations over the past five years are more indicative of the market than the true value of the company itself.
  7. Investing

    What is a Public Company?

    A public company has sold stock to the public through an initial public offering (IPO) and that stock is currently traded on a public stock exchange.
  8. Insights

    Why Are Companies Taking Longer To Go Public?

    Learn why private companies are waiting longer to have their IPOs. Understand why it may be more advantageous for a company to stay private.
  9. Investing

    Explaining Privatization

    For a publicly traded company, privatization is the act of transitioning the company to ownership by private individuals.
  10. Investing

    Why Public Companies Go Private

    Privatization can give management more time to make money for investors, but at what cost?
  1. GmbH

    GmbH is an abbreviation of the German phrase Gesellschaft mit ...
  2. Privatization

    1. The transfer of ownership of property or businesses from a ...
  3. Private Company

    A company whose ownership is private. As a result, it does not ...
  4. Public Limited Company - PLC

    The standard legal designation of a company which has offered ...
  5. AG (Aktiengesellschaft)

    AG is an abbreviation of Aktiengesellschaft, which is a German ...
  6. Going Private

    A transaction or a series of transactions that convert a publicly ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Nest Egg

    A substantial sum of money that has been saved or invested for a specific purpose. A nest egg is generally earmarked for ...
  2. Denial Of Service Attack (DoS)

    An intentional cyberattack carried out on networks, websites and online resources in order to restrict access to its legitimate ...
  3. Perkins Loan

    A loan program that provides low-interest student loans to undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate exceptional ...
  4. Wealth Management

    A high-level professional service that combines financial/investment advice, accounting/tax services, retirement planning ...
  5. Assets Under Management - AUM

    The market value of assets that an investment company manages on behalf of investors. Assets under management (AUM) is looked ...
  6. Subprime Auto Loan

    A type of auto loan approved for people with substandard credit scores or limited credit histories. There is no official ...
Trading Center