Business Types in the UK
- Community Interest Company (CIC), a company that uses its profits and assets for the public good.
- Industrial and Provident Society (IPS), an organisation that does not seek investment for profit. Examples include housing co-operatives and working men's clubs. An IPS can be a co-operative or a charity.
- Co-operative, an IPS that trades for the mutual benefit of its members. May have Ltd. at the end of its name, because it is a private company limited by shares. Although it is commonly thought that a private company is private because it is owned by "some one person" who makes sole profits from its operations, this is not necessarily true. A private company is, simply, a company not owned by the State. Therefore, a co-operative is a private company because it is not owned by the State - at least in the way that "co-operative" is defined in the UK. You might read about "co-operative farms in Stalin's Russia". In this case, the co-operative is owned by the state because everything is owned by the state. But in the UK "state owned companies" are placed in a special category and are not called co-operatives. British Rail before de-nationalization was run for the benefit of the British populace, not for any private individual, and not simply for rail passengers and workers - profits might, for instance, have been ploughed into the National Health Service. So British Rail was not a co-operative, it was a state owned company.
- Limited Company (Ltd.), a company where shareholders' liabilities are limited to shares, where a share is one of the equal parts into which a company's capital is divided. This is the most common form of privately held company. Unlike sole proprietorships, personal assets are distinct from company finances.
- Public limited company (plc), a company whose shares may be traded publicly.
- Subsidiary, a business entity controlled by another business entity. An example is Waitrose, which is controlled by the John Lewis Partnership.
1. Types of business entity, 16 Nov 2010, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
2. Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 7th edition, 1982.