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By Donald A. Hay, Derek J. Morris

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Are rarely used. 28 Unquoted Companies distinguish between public and private companies. In common parlance this distinction is often regarded as synonymous with that between quoted and unquoted companies. While there is a high degree of correlation between the classification of companies on these two bases it must be stressed that per se the distinctions are themselves quite distinct. To qualify as a private company three main conditions must be met. In the articles of association, membership must be limited to a maximum of fifty, the transfer of shares must be restricted and invitation to the public to subscribe for shares prohibited.

For the analyst the present situation is still far from ideal. No remotely comprehensive computerised data bank exists for unquoted companies, as in the case for quoted ones. In addition company accounts reveal only part, albeit an important part, of the behaviour of companies. There is also a wider diversity of accounting conventions amongst companies not subject to Stock Exchange information requirements. General statistical problems are therefore reviewed in detail later as appropriate. None the less the considerable expansion of available information during the 1970s makes detailed study of the sector possible and appropriate.

Surprisingly little has been written which specifically focuses on their functioning, and few comparisons with quoted companies exist. There is virtually no recent work. The purpose of this book is to record the results of a fairly detailed examination of unquoted companies undertaken during 1979-81. It seeks to understand the advantages and disadvantages of unquoted companies, to identify their specific difficulties and opportunities, to compare them with quoted companies both in aggregate and at a disaggregated level and to assess their contribution to the United Kingdom's industrial base.

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