Types of company registration in Nigeria.

Types of company registration in Nigeria.

July 23, 2019

 This write up is to help you understand the different types of companies in Nigeria as it states the basic features of each type of company registrable in Nigeria.

BUSINESS NAME OR SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP: This type of business registration is most suitable for sole proprietors or small partnerships. An enterprise is a business in which the owner of the enterprise registers the business name with the corporate affairs commission and is exposed to bear all business risk, the sole proprietor is  personally responsible for the running of the business and has unlimited liability to all debts and legal actions.


Read the blog post on how to register a business name to find out the requirement and the procedure of registration.


PRIVATE COMPANY LIMITED BY SHARES: A company limited by shares is a company where the liability of the members is limited to their subscription on the memorandum and articles of association.

A private company limited by shares has a separate entity from those who own it, the shareholders which means that shareholders personal assets remains his personal assets even if the company has a liability or a debt it owes and the liability of the shareholder is to the extent of the shares he owns in the company.

Read the blog post on How to register a limited liability company to find out the requirement and procedure of registration.

PUBLIC COMPANY: A public company is a company that the transfer of its shares is unrestricted. And it is open to the public to buy shares or debentures or deposit money for fixed periods. Any company that is not a private company shall be a public company and its memorandum shall state so. Every public company shall have capital except those limited by guarantee.


A company limited by guarantee does not have a share capital, the guarantors do not receive any profits and have no claim to the company’s assets.  All income generated is used to cover operating costs and to achieve the objectives of the company.

The liability of its members is limited to whatever amount they undertake to contribute to the assets of the company. It may not be incorporated with the objective of carrying on business for the purpose of making profits for distribution to its members.

Read up the blog post “Companies limited by guarantee” to know the requirement and procedure of registration.

UNLIMITED COMPANY: An unlimited company is a company incorporated with or without a share capital where the legal liability of the members or shareholders is not limited which means that its members or shareholders have a joint, several and non-limited obligation to clear the liability of the company.

An unlimited liability company has no limit on the liability of its members.

NON-PROFIT/ NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATION: This is a non profit making organization that is geared towards charity, promotion of culture and activities that do not generate profit for the organization or its members. There are no shareholders nor share capital but it has the board of trustees.


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Frequently Asked

  • When are Annual Returns due for filing?

    A company’s first Annual Returns are due for filing after 18 months of its inception, subsequently it should be filed annually as the name implies. The filing dates could differ for each company depending on their financial year end but must be filed not later than 42 days after its Annual General Meeting.

    The Annual Returns for Business Names is due not later than the 30th of June each year except in the year the business was registered.

  • Must my Company Secretary be a Lawyer?

    Although it’s ideal to have a lawyer as a company secretary, it is not compulsory for small private businesses.

  • Is there a penalty for late renewal of registration of products with NAFDAC?

    Yes, there is a late renewal fee, which is dependent on the category of the product.

  • Is it legal to transfer the personal data you obtained legally to another person?

    No, its not legal. This is because the law prohibits anyone from transferring the data of a third party to another person without consent from the third party to do same even if the data was rightfully obtained in the first instance.

  • What is the basic criteria for registering a Design?

    The design must be new and original. This means that it must be a unique design not similar to an already existing design.

  • Can I process/register multiple products at NAFDAC at the same time?

    Yes, you can process/register multiple products at the same time

  • What is share capital?

    The share capital in a private limited company is the amount of money invested by its owners in exchange for shares of ownership.

  • How long does a trademark registration in Nigeria Last?

    Trademark is valid for seven years from the date of application but you may renew the application for the trademark for an additional period of 14years.

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