Austrian GmbH: the end of horror

As a result of the British exit from the European Union, the limited companies with their main administrative headquarters in Austria lost their legal eligibility here. Shareholders are now personally liable following a ruling by the Supreme Court.


“Josef Hinterkletzenmayr Bau Ltd (Limited), Afiesl am Walde” has been a famous “Austrian” company for as long as the UK has been a member of the European Union. Brexit also ended the possibility of setting up Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) with the main purpose of setting up a branch in Austria or even moving the head office here. But what happens to “Austrian” LLCs that did not change their legal form prior to Brexit (eg transferring operations to a local limited company)?

Legal persons as operators of companies protect their shareholders from liability with their own assets. A legal entity (for example, a limited liability company) is liable only for its own assets, but not with the assets of its shareholders. Since Austria’s accession to the European Union in 1995, the British “Limited” has also been very popular in this country, as it has provided shareholders with this protection and can also be incorporated without a certain minimum share capital. In contrast, even a limited liability company with privileged incorporation rights initially requires 5,000 euros.

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