Why Set Up a Joint Stock Company in Italy

italy 2

Italy is located in Southern Europe. To the north, it borders France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia, while to the south, it consists of the entirety of the Italian Peninsula and the two biggest Mediterranean islands of Sicily and Sardinia.

Italy is currently one of the most important countries in the European Union. Its convenient geographical position gives investors easy access to southern, central and northern Europe markets as well as to the ports of the Mediterranean.

The registration of a company in Italy has been simplified since the Commercial Code was amended and the minimum share capital requirements have been changed.

The country is a member of the EU and G8 (the industrialized countries) and that means it is a safe destination for foreign investors.

Joint Stock Company (SPA – Societa per azioni)

The Italian joint stock company (Società per Azioni), usually referred to as SpA is also known as public limited liability company as it is allowed to trade its shares on the capital market.

The Italian joint stock corporation is usually employed by large enterprises as it requires a minimum investment of 120.000 EUR. A quarter of the capital needs to be deposited in a bank account before the incorporation of the company. The payment of the capital may be replaced by a bank guarantee or an insurance policy for at least the equivalent amount.

This business type requires at least 1 shareholder and has the capital typically divided into shares with the possibility of listing them on the stock exchange. In case there is only a single shareholder in the company, the entire start-up capital has to be paid at once when the incorporation takes place. In addition, the company also needs to have its own accounting system supervised by the board of statutory auditors.

Other advantages of setting up a joint stock company in Italy are:

  • A physical office is not required (a virtual office will suffice to obtain the VAT number).
  • No restrictions on foreign shareholders and directors
  • Limited liability: Shareholders benefit from a complete limited liability

The management of that type of company can differ according to the requirements of those involved. Here are the three possibilities:

  • Traditional board – formed by a single director
  • A board of directors
  • A management board – which is assigned by the supervisory committee (the supervisory committee is elected by the shareholders)

You should consider setting up a joint stock company if:

  • the business requires significant letters of credit and loans;
  • the law says so (with some exception, you need a SPA to open a bank in Italy, insurance, a gold trader, online gambling, and in general manage a regulated business).

The standard VAT rate in Italy is 22%. Reduced rates of 10% and 4% are applied to certain products while the corporate tax in this country is set at 27.5%.

If you are not yet convinced that Italy is a great choice to set up your company you should also know that the Italian government also provides certain incentives for foreign companies that invest a certain amount in the country, the most notable sectors are tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, and foodstuff.