In recent years there have been significant efforts to accelerate and simplify procedures for the establishment and operation of companies in Greece, but the reforms need to continue to attract investments.
Greek law provides for a variety of legal forms for carrying out a business. In addition to establishing a Greek company or entity (partnership), foreign enterprises may establish and operate a business in Greece by forming a Greek branch or entering a joint venture with another enterprise. Foreign enterprises can also establish a presence in Greece (Law 89 office/company as revised by Law 3427/2005) whose sole scope of activity is to provide certain services to their head office or any other affiliate company not established in Greece. Individuals can operate as sole traders or freelance professionals.
An entity with its registered place of business in Greece is normally considered to be a Greek entity even though all its members may be foreign.
For Taxes related to doing business in Greece, please read the relevant updated article.
Corporation – Anonymos Eteria (AE)
An Anonymos Eteria is a legal entity in which the liability of a shareholder is limited to the amount contributed to the share capital. This entity is the equivalent of the French "Société Anonyme" or the German "AG" and enjoys the highest status in Greece. Minimum Capita 25.000 euros.
Limited Liability Company - (EPE)
An EPE is a hybrid of an Anonymos Eteria and a partnership and is similar to the French Sarl or German GmbH. An EPE resembles an AE in that it is regarded as a legal entity separate from its partners and it has limited liability. An EPE resembles a partnership in the manner decisions are made. In particular, the majority of both the number of partners and of the capital is required.
A branch of a foreign company may be established in Greece through registration with the General Commercial Registry. For this purpose, certain documents must be filed with the General Commercial Registry, including Articles of Association of the foreign company, a certificate of good standing of the foreign company issued by the competent foreign supervising authority, a resolution of the competent corporate body of the company approving the establishment of a branch in Greece, and a Power of Attorney appointing the branch’s legal representative(s) in Greece and the person(s) authorized to receive correspondence in Greece (if a legal representative does not reside in Greece).
General Partnership - (OE)
A general partnership is an entity in which all the partners are jointly and severally liable for the debts of the partnership without limitation in liability.
Limited Partnership – (Ε.Ε)
Ιn all respects, a Limited Partnership is similar to a General Partnership, except that the liability of the limited partner is limited to his contributed capital. At least one partner must have unlimited liability .If a limited liability partner is engaged in the management of the partnership he loses his limited liability status,
Private Capital Company – Idiotiki Kefalaiouhiki Eteria (IKE)
A Private Capital Company is exclusively liable for its corporate debts, whereas the liability of its partners for corporate debts towards third parties is limited to the amounts specifically mentioned in its Articles of Association.Minimum capital 1 euro.
Joint Venture – Kinopraxia (JV)
The term joint venture (JV) is used in commercial practice to indicate the cooperation of individuals or legal entities for the purpose of pursuing and carrying out a specific project. A joint venture (JV) is not recognized by law as a separate legal entity If the JV carries out commercial activities, it must be registered with the General Commercial Registry and the provisions regulating General Partnerships apply to it. Further, if the JV is not obligatorily registered with the General Commercial Registry, it can be recognized as a fiscal entity for tax purposes, provided that certain conditions are met, including the filing of the JV agreement with the tax authorities prior to the commencement of its activities.
Law 89 office/company (as revised by Law 3427/2005)
Foreign entities may establish an office or a company in Greece under the provisions of Law 89/1967 as amended by Law 3427/2005, for the sole purpose of providing to their head offices or to their foreign affiliates (companies not established in Greece) consulting services, centralized accounting support, quality control of production, processes and services, project planning services, advertising and marketing services and data processing services. The personnel of Law 89 entities must consist of at least four persons and the company’s annual operating expenses must amount to at least EUR 100 000, to be covered via bank remittances.
Offices/Branches of foreign shipping entities
Foreign shipping entities may establish an office or branch in Greece under the provisions of Article 25 of Law 27/1975 for activities exclusively related to the management, operation, brokerage, chartering, average adjustment and insurance of non-passenger ships (Greek or foreign flagged) greater than 500 registered tons engaged in international traffic and the representation of foreign ship owning entities or of other foreign shipping entities that have objects similar to the above activities. The office’s/branch’s annual operating expenses must amount to at least USD 50 000 to be covered via bank remittances. A bank guarantee not less than EUR 5 000 shall be deposited as a guarantee for the office’s/branch’s compliance with the above provisions.
Sole Traders/Freelance Professionals
Individuals may carry out operations in Greece as sole traders or freelance professionals. They are fully liable for their operation’s debts and obligations. Registrations are required prior to commencing any activity.