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Local business incentives - Legal forms of companies - Registration and licensing procedures - Legal framework - Foreign exchange control - Regulations concerning equity investment - FDI inflows - Expertise of the political risk

Local business incentives

Different aid programmes have been implemented in order to encourage the development of small and medium-sized companies, new businesses, environmental protection and innovation. Small and medium-sized companies can get loans, from €350,000 to €700,000, for exceptional cases. They have to invest into new technological processes for example. Young companies with less than two years of age can get loans or subsidies in order to encourage them to carry out marketing research, for example. The Commercial and Industrial Research Development Fund favours innovation and transfers of technology by granting loans or subsidies. The government offers different programmes in order to finance environmental protection measures taken by companies. The Austrian Business Agency delivers assistance to international investors and informs about the different incentives.


Legal forms of companies

Form Number of partners/shareholders Minimum and/or maximum capital Liability Registration fee Release of financial documents
Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (GmbH) is a Private Limited Company. Minimum 2 partners.
nb: 1 member for a sole proprietorship GmbH.
Minimum 35,000€. 50% totally subscribed and released at the creation. Partners' liability is limited to the amount contributed. 0.55% of the capital plus about 70€ No
Aktiengesellschaft (AG) is a Public Limited Company. Minimum 2 shareholders Minimum 35,000€. 25% totally subscribed and released at the creation. Partners' liability is limited to the amount contributed. 10 to 15% of the capital. Yes
Offene Handelsgesellschaft (OHG) is a general partnership. Minimum 2 partners. No minimum capital. Partners' liability is joint and several for social debts. Lower expenses as compared to the GesmbH No
Kommanditgesellschaft (KG) is a limited partnership Two types of partners: active partners and sleeping partners. No minimum capital. Liability of active partners is unlimited. Liability of sleeping partners is limited to the amount contributed. Lower expenses compared with the GesmbH No

Registration and licensing procedures
The registration request must be made with the Trade Register of the court where the company is located. The company is set up as soon as the statuses, as a company in process of formation, are signed. However, the registration grants the legal entity.

Legal framework
In order to be able to run a company in Austria, professional ability proofs are required in nearly all activities, listed in a regulatory test: Gewerbeordnung, reconducted by the law n°194 of 1994.

Foreign exchange control
On November 4th 1991, Austria totally liberalised its financial transactions with foreign countries. Law regarding currencies requires a notification from the national bank for certain transactions.
Repatriation of dividends, interests and capital to the investor's country of origin is legal.

Regulations concerning equity investment
A majority holding interest in the capital of a local company is legal in Austria.  

Foreign Direct Investment inflows in Austria

FDI inflows 2003 2004 2005 World rank (*)
FDI inflows (USD million) 7144 3 685 8 919 81/141
Source : UNCTAD - World Investment Report
Note : (*) World Rank = UNCTAD Inward FDI Performance Index. It is a measure of the extend to which a host country receives inward FDI relative to its economic size. It is calculated as a ratio of the country's share in global FDI inflows to its share in global GDP.


Last modified in 2006 - ongoing update
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