Fintech in Brazil

Types of companies in Brazil: Which suits you?

Brazil is a country with a vibrant economy and a diverse business environment, catering to different industries and sectors. Understanding the differences between business models is crucial for entrepreneurs wishing to establish a presence in the dynamic Brazilian market. In this guide, we delve into the four main types of companies in Brazil, providing information on their structures, regulations and implications for business operations.

In this article, we provide a guide to the most common types of legal structures. It’s an excellent starting point for anyone considering, for example, LLC formation in Brazil. There are more types of companies in Brazil, of course, though this is the most popular with foreign investors.

Without a doubt, it’s ripe for innovation. Entrepreneurs looking to enter the Brazilian market and access the business opportunities and vast talent pool that come with it should be well-informed and understand the process meticulously. This includes setting up the right type of entity for your operations from the list of types of companies in Brazil. Biz Latin Hub can help you all along the process.

Why invest in Brazil?

The economy can help you choose which of the types of companies in Brazil is right for you

Brazil is the 5th largest country in the world and the largest in Latin America. It has a population of over 200 million and is the region’s largest economy. Its GDP is USD$1.92 trillion and according to data collected by the OECD, is due to grow by 1.8% in 2024.

Furthermore, it’s worth noting that the investment market is expected to grow again after a few years of low FDI. Despite falling from around USD$70 billion 2019 to around USD$45 billion in 2021, the country is starting to bounce back from the pandemic. GDP is rising again and the internal market is showing shoots of recovery.

Whatever type of legal structure in Brazil you ultimately choose, there are some exceptional opportunities available. Brazil offers excellent opportunities in traditionally strong industries like the meat, cotton, sugar, and coffee industries.

Brazil also is open to innovators as illustrated by the huge success of vegan food producer, The New Butcher. This is indicative of a younger generation of the Brazilian market who are more conscious of their purchasing habits. These types of companies in Brazil could be the next big opportunity.

3 Main Company Types in Brazil

Biz Latin Hub Infographic for an article on types of companies in Brazil
It’s important to understand the types of companies in Brazil

The 3 main company types of options in Brazil are:

  • Limited Liability Company (Sociedade Limitada / SRL).
  • Limited Liability Corporation (Sociedade Anônima / SA).
  • Consortium.

One of the most common company types in Brazil is the limited liability company, known locally as a limited society (Sociedade Limitada) or SRL. This type of legal structure in Brazil is similar to a limited liability company (LLC) in the United States.

A key benefit to the limited liability company in Brazil is the fact that each shareholder’s responsibility is tied to their assigned capital — or in other words, it is based on their investment.

Some characteristics of the Brazilian limited society (Sociedade Limitada):

  • No minimum or maximum capital is required unless the entity is involved in trading or hiring foreign individuals as managers or directors
  • This type of entity is incorporated through an Article of Association which needs to be registered with the Board of Trade
  • Only one shareholder is needed. They don’t need to be a resident and there’s no minimum or maximum percentage of interest ownership
  • Non-residents must be represented by an individual resident in the country
  • An SRL cannot be registered or sell shares in the stock exchange
  • Any quota holder holding more than 75% of the quotas has effective control of the entity
  • A member cannot sell shares without the approval of the other shareholders

Limited liability corporations, locally referred to as an anonymous society (Sociedade Anônima) or SA, are regulated locally by the Law of SAs. These are closest to what’s known as a Subchapter C Corporation in the United States.

This type of legal structure in Brazil can issue different classes of shares (voting and non-voting), while liability among shareholders is limited to the payment of shares to which the shareholders have subscribed.

Corporations can either be publicly traded (known as a Sociedade por Ações Aberta) or closed (known as a Sociedade por Ações Fechada), meaning the shares and securities will not be available to the general public.

This type of entity is popular among larger corporations interested in seeking to raise funds .

Some characteristics of the SA in Brazil include:

  • At least two shareholders are required (natural or legal persons, resident or not)
  • The corporation’s capital must be completely subscribed and 10% must be deposited in a bank account as part of the incorporation process
  • At least 5% of annual net income needs to be set aside in a legal reserve until it reaches 20% of capital
  • Financial statements must be filed with the local commercial registry and published in the Official Gazette
  • An SA must have a board of directors (who are fiscal residents of Brazil or hold residency) and an administrative council (who can be non-resident foreigners)
Choosing a legal counsel in brazil infographic by biz latin hub.
All types of companies in Brazil can benefit from a good legal counsel

A consortium is the gathering of corporations of other companies with the aim of performing a particular operation or activity. Consortiums are unincorporated entities where two or more members take part in trade, business, financial operations, or ventures, and share profits.

Some characteristics of a consortium in Brazil include:

  • A consortium is established through a consortium agreement
  • Partners are responsible for their own obligations and liabilities, as set out in the consortium agreement
  • That same agreement will define the aim of the consortium and establish each partner’s rights and obligations
  • The consortium agreement must be filed with the local board of trade in the same jurisdiction as the main office
  • A consortium is not regarded as a taxpayer, like other types of companies in Brazil

Our Recommendation: The Limited Liability Company (Sociedad Limitada / SRL) structure provides flexibility in management and ownership, typically requiring fewer formalities compared to a Sociedad Anônima (SA).

When choosing a Brazilian company structure, it’s worth considering the possibility of incorporating a branch. However, this process can be lengthy and costly, taking up to six months to complete, and may involve higher costs than other types of company formation.

In order to set up a branch office in Brazil, it’s necessary to demonstrate the existence of a legal entity in another jurisdiction, including a copy of the articles of incorporation and list of shareholders, among other documentation. All documents must be officially translated, legalized (notarized or equivalent), and certified by a Brazilian consulate.

A certain amount of capital must be allocated to the new branch,

Some characteristics of a branch office in Brazil include:

  • Remittances of profits are exempt from withholding tax
  • Special authorization to open a branch of a foreign corporation must be issued by the Ministry of Development, Industry, and Trade.
  • A foreign branch office can only start operations once registered and its authorization and proof of documentation have been published.

1. Can a foreigner register a company in Brazil?

Yes, foreign individuals and entities can register a company in Brazil. However, they must comply with specific legal requirements and may need to appoint a local representative or partner.

2. What type of legal entity is a Sociedade Limitada (SRL) in Brazil?

One of the most common company types in Brazil is the limited liability company, known locally as a limited society (Sociedade Limitada) or SRL. This type of legal structure in Brazil is similar to a limited liability company (LLC) in the United States.

3. How do I create a legal entity in Brazil?

To create a legal entity in Brazil, you need to follow a series of steps, including choosing the appropriate legal structure, registering with the appropriate authorities, drafting articles of incorporation, and obtaining tax identification numbers.

4. What is an LLC in Brazil?

In Brazil, there is no exact equivalent to the Limited Liability Company (LLC) structure commonly found in other jurisdictions. However, the closest equivalent is the Sociedade Limitada (LTDA), which offers limited liability to its members.

5. What is the business structure of a Sociedade Limitada (SRL)?

This type of entity is incorporated through an Article of Association which needs to be registered with the Board of Trade. Only one shareholder is needed. They don’t need to be a resident and there’s no minimum or maximum percentage of interest ownership. Non-residents must be represented by an individual resident in the country

At Biz Latin Hub, we provide integrated market entry and back-office services throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. We have offices in 17 key cities around the region, making us the ideal partners to support multi-jurisdiction market entries and cross-border operations.

Our portfolio includes accounting & taxation, company formation, due diligence, hiring & PEO, and corporate legal services.

Contact us today to find out more about how we can assist you.

If you found this article on different types of companies in Brazil of interest, you may want to check out the rest of our coverage of this huge economy. Or read about our team and expert authors.

In the following video, you will find out more information about doing business in Latin America:

YouTube video
Thinking about doing business in Latin America? Biz Latin Hub can advise you and explain the types of companies in Brazil.

The information provided here within should not be construed as formal guidance or advice. Please consult a professional for your specific situation. Information provided is for informative purposes only and may not capture all pertinent laws, standards, and best practices. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving; information mentioned may be outdated and/or could undergo changes. The interpretations presented are not official. Some sections are based on the interpretations or views of relevant authorities, but we cannot ensure that these perspectives will be supported in all professional settings.
Legal Team Brazil

Legal Team Brazil

Legal Team Brazil is the Biz Latin Hub leading experts on doing business in Brazil The Team writes on the news, doing business, law, and changing regulations. The team are experts in corporate law, Administrative law, Employment law, Immigration law and legal advisory services. Read more about them here. You can contact Legal Team Brazil via our "contact us page".

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