In Australia, there are two main types of companies; private (proprietary) and public. The most common type of company in Australia is the proprietary company, which is signified by 'Pty' at the end of the company name.

How companies are classified depends on liability, size and where they are listed.

Proprietary companies

Proprietary companies limited by shares

A company that is limited by shares means that the liability of its members is limited to the nominal amount of their shares. If a company has ‘Pty Ltd’ at the end of the name, they are a proprietary company limited by shares.

Unlimited proprietary companies with a share capital

An unlimited proprietary company with share capital is a company where its members liability is not limited. If a company has just ‘Pty’ at the end of the name, they are an unlimited proprietary company with a share capital.


In compliance with the Corporation Act 2001, a proprietary company must:

A proprietary company is defined as small if it satisfies two of the following:

Public Companies

Public companies limited by shares

The same as a proprietary company limited by shares, a public company that is limited by shares is a company where the liability of its members is limited to the nominal amount of their shares.

Public companies limited by guarantee

The difference with a company that is limited by guarantee is that members can guarantee a fixed amount to be undertaken to contribute to the company when it is wound up. These types of companies have no share capital.

Unlimited public companies with a share capital

Like its private counterpart, an unlimited public company with a share capital is a company where its members liability is not limited.

No liability companies (mining and resource companies)

In Australia, a no liability public company is a type of public company that has share capital. They can only be used where the principal activity of the company is that of mining or resource exploration.


In compliance with the Corporations Act 2001, a public company must: