S.A. or SA[a] designates a type of limited company in certain countries, most of which have a Romance language as their official language and employ civil law. 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.
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 in order to obscure the beneficiary.
S.A. can be an abbreviation of:
The Greek term Anonymi Etaireia (Ανώνυμη Εταιρεία, A.E.) is usually translated into S.A. in English and foreign languages.
It is equivalent in literal meaning and function to:
It is equivalent in function to:
(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.