Share of the Banque de Montreux
, issued 20 November 1900. Société anonyme
were common in Switzerland at this time.
S.A. or SA designates a type of public company in certain countries, most of which have a Romance language as its official language and employ civil law. Depending on language, it means anonymous company, anonymous partnership, share company, or joint-stock company, roughly equivalent to public limited company in United Kingdom company law and a public company in United States corporate law. It is different from partnerships and private limited companies.
Originally, shareholders could be literally anonymous and collect dividends by surrendering coupons attached to their share certificates. Dividends were therefore paid to whoever held the certificate. Share certificates could be transferred privately, and therefore the management of the company would not necessarily know who owned its shares.
Like bearer bonds, anonymous unregistered share ownership and dividend collection enabled money laundering, tax evasion, and concealed business transactions in general, so governments passed laws to audit the practice. Nowadays, shareholders of S.A.s are not anonymous, though shares can still be held by holding companies in order to obscure the beneficiary.
In different countries
S.A. can be an abbreviation of:
- Sociedade Anónima in Galician and European Portuguese (used in Portugal, Timor Leste, Macao, and Lusophone Africa)
- Sociedá Anónima in Asturian and Leonese
- Sociedade Anônima in Brazilian Portuguese (used in Brazil)
- Societat Anònima in Catalan
- Société anonyme (SA) in French (as used in French-speaking countries such as France (including French Polynesia, and New Caledonia) and Monaco; also in partially Francophone countries and/or nations with French as one of their official languages like Belgium (where it is equivalent to a naamloze vennootschap), Luxembourg (also identifiable in Luxembourgish as Aktiegesellschaft), Haiti, Switzerland (where it is equivalent to an Aktiengesellschaft or a Società Anonima), as well as Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Algeria and other African countries)
- Società Anonima in Swiss Italian (in Italy replaced by Società per azioni, S.p.A., since 1942)
- Sociedad Anónima or Sociedad por Acciones in Spanish
- Mexican law also takes into account the variability of the corporate stock, resulting in most S.A. turning into Sociedad Anónima de Capital Variable (S.A. de C.V.), or Sociedad Anónima Bursátil de Capital Variable (S.A.B. de C.V.) for publicly traded companies.
- Mexico also has Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada de Capital Variable (S.R.L. de C.V.), which is analogous to the limited liability company.
- Spó?ka Akcyjna in Polish
- Societate pe Ac?iuni in Romanian
The Greek term Anonymi Etaireia (? , A.E.) is officially translated into S.A. in English and foreign languages.
It is equivalent in literal meaning and function to:
It is equivalent in function to:
- Shoqëri Aksionare (Sh.a.) in Albanian
- ? ? ? ?.?.?.?, Sharikah mus?hamah mmah dh?t mas'?liyyah ma?d?dah (literally: 'Public share company with limited liability') in Arabic
- Dioni?ko dru?tvo (d.d.) in Croatian and Bosnian
- ? , Aktsionerno druzhestvo () in Bulgarian
- ?, Aktsionersko drushtvo () in Macedonian
- Akciová spole?nost (a.s.) in Czech
- Aktieselskab (A/S) in Danish
- Société anonyme égyptienne (S.A.E.) or ? (Sherka mosahama Ma?reyya, literally: 'Egyptian share company', abbreviated ?.?.?) in Egypt
- Osakeyhtiö (Oy) in Finnish
- Aktsiaselts (AS) in Estonian
- Aktiengesellschaft (AG) in German
- Részvénytársaság (Rt) in Hungarian
- Hlutafélag (Hf) in Icelandic
- Public Limited (LTD.) in India
- Public limited company (plc) in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and several Commonwealth countries
- Kabushiki gaisha (K.K.) or ? in Japan
- Jusighoesa (J) or ? in Korea
- Société anonyme laotienne (S.A.L.) in Laos
- Akcin? bendrov? (AB) in Lithuanian
- Akciju sabiedr?ba (AS) in Latvian
- Aksjeselskap (AS) in Norwegian
- , Aktsionernoye obshchestvo (AO) in Russian
- ?, Deoni?arsko dru?tvo (d.d.), or ?, Akcionarsko dru?tvo (a.d.) in Serbian
- Akciová spolo?nos? (a.s.) in Slovak
- Delni?ka dru?ba (d.d.) in Slovene
- Aktiebolag (AB) in Swedish
- ? ?, Aktsionerne tovarystvo (AT) in Ukrainian
- Publicly traded company or Incorporated (Inc.) in the United States, though the former term does not appear in the names of business entities
- Compañía Anónima (C.A.) in Andorra
- ?.?() or Société anonyme cambodgienne (S.A.C.; literally, "Cambodian share company") in Cambodia
- Công ti c? ph?n in Vietnam