A registered company is formed by registration under the Companies Act. It is this type of company that people usually have in mind when they talk of "a company". The notes that follow are concerned exclusively with "registered companies". It should be noted that s.2 of the Companies Act defines a company as "a company formed and registered under this Act."
Classification of registered companies Registered companies are classified by s.4(1) of the Companies Act into:
(a) A company formed by "any seven or more persons". Like a company is known in common parlance as a public company.
(b) A company formed by "any two or more persons". Like a company is referred to in the Act as "a private company".
A private company or a public company are like:
(i) Limited by shares if the liability of its members is limited by its memorandum to the amount, if any, unpaid on the shares respectively held by them.
(ii) Limited by guarantee whether the liability of its members is limited by its memorandum to an amount which the members have undertaken to contribute to the assets of the company in the event of its being wound up.
(iii) Unlimited whether it does not have any limit on the liability of its members.