Business structures

There are several ways in which an overseas entity can establish a business or acquire business interests in Northern Ireland. 

The main methods are:

  • the incorporation of a private limited company,
  • the setting up of a branch or place of business (referred to as a “UK establishment”),
  • the appointment of an independent agent or distributor.
  • the establishment of a business by means of joint venture (including a partnership); and
  • the acquisition of an existing or an interest in an existing company or business.

The decision as to the most suitable type of business vehicle will depend upon a number of factors, including the nature of the intended activities in the UK, taxation and employment issues, and financing and funding considerations. The majority of companies registered in Northern Ireland are private companies limited by shares. They are the most popular form of business entity for inward investment projects. The shareholders of a private limited company have limited liability.