1. Introduction –
In principle, any national or foreign citizen is allowed to set up a business in Austria. A company is defined as a partnership of at least two people (exceptions for limited liability companies and joint stock companies), founded by a legal operation, who wish to achieve a certain objective through organized cooperation . While one person is enough to set up a public limited company (Kapitalgesellschaft), at least two people are needed to form a partnership entity (Personengesellschaft). A business operated by a single natural person with full personal responsibility (i.e. without any other partner or shareholder) is called a sole proprietorship (Einzelunternehmen).
If foreign business owners choose to establish a subsidiary in the form of a public limited company in Austria, it is important to mention that the establishment is legally independent from the parent company, which means that the foreign parent company no ‘assume direct and unlimited liability for the obligations of the subsidiary. The forms of business generally chosen for these subsidiaries are the limited liability company (GmbH) and the joint stock company (AG). In addition, there is the European Company (SE), which is rarely used.
Please see the full chapter below for more information.