Branches of domestic companies

General remarks

A branch (in the context of industrial/trade law: additional permanent establishment or subsidiary) is understood to be a part of an enterprise that is locally separated from the main establishment and organisationally largely independent, whereby it operates under its own management and is designed for more than just a temporary duration.

Branches established in Austria must be registered in the Companies Register. However, they do not have their own legal personality; the legal entity remains the natural or legal person of the main establishment.

The setting up of branches  allows the creation of independent organisational units without having to set up a separate affiliate company for this purpose; in this respect, costs can be saved.

Companies Register

The name of the branch must contain the name of the legal entity of the main establishment. It is permissible to add a suffix indicating the branch status (e.g. Tulln branch).

If a domestic company establishes a branch in Austria, it must be filed for registration in the Companies Register by the representative body of the main establishment. The competent Companies Register Court is the regional court (BMJ)German text locally competent for the registered main establishment, in Vienna the Commercial Court Vienna (BMJ)German text, in Graz the Regional Court for Civil Matters Graz (BMJ)German text.

The application to the Companies Register Court, signed by the authorised representative body and certified by a court or a civil law notary, must contain:

  • A certificate that the branch has actually been established
  • Name of the branch
  • Location
  • The relevant business address for service of documents

Business licence

The competent trade authority for the location of the branch office must be notified that the business is exercised in a further place of business (branch) on the basis of the licence to trade held by the main establishment. If necessary, a separate business licence must be obtained if the branch office carries out different commercial activities than the main office.

Legal basis

Translated by the Federal Ministry of Justice
Last update: 1 January 2022

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Justice