S.A. (corporation)

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Share of the Banque de Montreux, issued 20 November 1900. Société anonyme were common in Switzerland at this time.

The abbreviation S.A. or SA, for the French Société Anonyme[a] designates a type of limited company in certain countries, most of which have a Romance language as their official language and operates a derivative of the 1804, Napoleonic, civil law.[1] Originally, shareholders could be literally anonymous and collect dividends by surrendering coupons attached to their share certificates. Dividends were paid to whomever held the certificate. Since share certificates could be transferred privately, corporate management would not necessarily know who owned its shares – nor did anyone but the holders.

As with 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 a holding company to obscure the beneficiary.



S.A. can be an abbreviation of:

Literal meaning[edit]

It is equivalent in literal meaning and function to:

  • Naamloze vennootschap (N.V.) in Dutch
  • Perseroan Terbatas Terbuka (P.T. Tbk.) in Indonesia
  • Berhad (Bhd.) in Malaysia
  • Anonim Şirket (A.Ş.) or Anonim Ortaklık (A.O.) in Turkish
  • Corporación anónima (C.A.) in Ecuador and Venezuela
  • Anonymi Etaireia (Ανώνυμη Εταιρεία, A.E.) in Greek is usually translated into S.A. in English and foreign languages.


It is equivalent in function to:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Société Anonyme (S.A.): Definition, Examples, Requirements". Investopedia. Retrieved 2024-02-28.
  2. ^ a b "公司的種類及股東的責任" (in Chinese). 澳門青年創業孵化中心.
  3. ^ "Note de synthèse – Fonctionnement de la SA" (in Spanish). 6 January 2021.
  4. ^ "26 CFR 301.7701-2 – Business entities; definitions. | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute". Legal Information Institute. (v)Multilingual countries. Different linguistic renderings of the name of an entity listed in paragraph (b)(8)(i) of this section shall be disregarded. For example, an entity formed under the laws of Switzerland as a Societe Anonyme will be a corporation and treated in the same manner as an Aktiengesellschaft.
  1. ^ Depending on language, SA can mean anonymous company, anonymous partnership, share company, or joint-stock company. See § In different countries.

External links[edit]