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The Portuguese economy has had some difficulties in keeping pace with the rest of the European Union and its gross domestic product remains significantly below the EU average. This doesn’t mean Portugal is a poor prospect for international investors - far from it. A natural hub for trade between Europe and the Americas, Portugal has an open economy and actively seeks to attract foreign investment, with plenty of incentives available. Make the most of them.

Our company formation service makes it easy for you to open a company in Portugal, so please contact us for further details.

What are the main types of company in Portugal?

There are two main forms of corporate structure for foreign companies, and they are as follows:

  • public company (S.A.)
  • private limited company (Lda)

What are the main features of a public company?

  • this is the standard format for large businesses
  • minimum share capital is €50,000
  • minimum number of shareholders is five
  • stringent accounting and auditing requirements

What are the main features of a private limited company?

  • the most popular format for small and medium businesses
  • minimum share capital is €5,000
  • minimum number of directors is two
  • no restrictions on foreign shareholders
  • liabilities are limited to the amount invested

Is it complicated to set up a company in Portugal?

Much less complicated than it used to be. Portugal has streamlined its incorporation procedures in recent years, although professional advice remains absolutely essential. We are experts in company formation in Portugal, so please ask for further details.

What about corporation tax?

Corporation tax in Portugal is on the high side – 25% plus 2.5% local tax – although this is an improvement. Before 2005 the rate was 30% plus 3% local tax. However, Portugal can offer the Madeira Free Trade Zone which has a much lower rate of corporation tax, between 2% and 12.5%.

How easy is it to recruit staff in Portugal?

Portugal has a strong and highly developed recruitment industry. There is no shortage of well-qualified applicants for jobs, but it is important to make certain that you are dealing with a recruitment agency that you can trust. We have a panel of recommended recruitment specialists in Portugal – just ask for details. It is also worth noting that Portuguese labor laws protect the employee and it is essential to take advice before entering into a contractual arrangement. We have a network of local experts who will be happy to help you on this point.

What is the regulatory environment like?

For centuries Portugal has relied on international trade and this is reflected today in the liberal nature of its economy. The regulatory environment is easygoing, while maintaining standard EU rules. Foreign companies are free to invest as they wish, although there are limits in certain strategic sectors. There are no obstacles to capital entering the country, nor any restraint on the repatriation of profits or dividends.

Are there financial incentives available?

Portugal offers generous incentives, many of them backed by EU funds, to attract foreign companies wishing to invest. Special incentives are available for large investment projects and for proposals that would impact positively on tourism, science and the environment.

And what about banking facilities?

Most major international banks and financial institutions are in Portugal and offer a full range of banking facilities to investors. The local financial sector is also more than capable of meeting the needs of the international investment community. You will need a bank account if you want to open a company in Portugal: we will be happy to help you with this.

Our company formation service makes it easy for you to open a company in Portugal, so please contact us for further details.


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