Subsidiary Company, Types, Structure, Work

09/07/2020 2 By indiafreenotes

Subsidiary company is a business entity that is fully or partly owned by another entity. If an X company buys Y company, Y becomes the subsidiary company of X. The company that buys another company becomes a holding company. Hence, it holds significant ownership & control over the subsidiary company.

The holding company is also called the parent company & the subsidiary company is also called the daughter company. It shows the relationship that the subsidiaries belong to the holding company.

Types of Subsidiary Company

  1. Partly Owned

The parent company owns 50% or more but less than 100% shares in the holding company. Such a subsidiary is partly owned. Here parent company does not get full control over the subsidiary company.

  1. Wholly Owned

The parent company holds 100% shares & controls in the subsidiary company. Though, A wholly-owned subsidiary company is not a merger.

A holding company can have more than one subsidiary company. But a subsidiary company can have one and only one holding company. However, a subsidiary can have a subsidiary or more of its own.

The parent company can be larger or smaller than the subsidiary. It need not be more powerful than the subsidiary. The size of the firm or employees does not decide the relationship. The only control over ownership is the key factor.

Also, the location or type of business of both companies does not matter.  They may or may not be in the same location or same business line.

Structure of Subsidiary Company

  1. Formation

The parent company has to register with the state registrar of the state in which the company operates. The ownership & stake details are to be defined during this process.

  1. Operation

Normally, the parent company just oversees the operations of the subsidiary company. However, in certain cases, the parent company may supervise day to day operations of a subsidiary company.

Subsidiaries are separate legal entities. They have their own concerns regarding the handling of taxation, regulations & liabilities. Subsidiary companies can sue & be sued separate from the parent company. the obligations of a subsidiary may or may not be obligations of the parent company. One of these companies can be undergoing legal proceedings, bankruptcy, tax delinquency or be under investigation without affecting other companies directly. though affecting public image is altogether an intangible thing.

How Does a Subsidiary Work?

Subsidiaries are common in some industries, particularly real estate. A company that owns real estate and has several properties with apartments for rent may form an overall holding company, with each property as a subsidiary. The rationale for doing this is to protect the assets of the various properties from each other’s liabilities. For example, if Company A owns Companies B, C, and D (each a property) and Company D is sued, the other companies can not be held liable for the actions of Company D.

A subsidiary is formed by registering with the state in which the company operates. The ownership of the subsidiary and the type of corporate entity such as a limited liability company (LLC) are spelled out in the registration.

How Are Subsidiaries Accounted For?

From an accounting standpoint, a subsidiary is a separate company, so it keeps its own financial records and bank accounts and track its assets and liabilities. Any transactions between the parent company and the subsidiary must be recorded.

A subsidiary may also be its own separate entity for taxation purposes. Each subsidiary has its own employer identification number and may pay its own taxes, according to its business type.

However, many public companies file consolidated financial statements, including the balance sheet and income statement, showing the parent and all subsidiaries combined. And if a parent company owns 80% or more of shares and voting rights for its subsidiaries, it can submit a consolidated income tax return that can take advantage of offsetting the profits of one subsidiary with losses from another. Each subsidiary must consent to being included in this consolidated tax return by filing IRS Form 1122.

Holding Company vs. Parent Company

Most holding companies’ sole purpose is to hold ownership of subsidiaries. If that’s the case, the company is referred to as a “pure” holding company. If it also conducts business operations of its own, it’s called a “mixed holding company.5 One example of a pure holding company is publicly traded Alphabet Inc., whose purpose is to hold Google and other, lesser-known subsidiaries like Calico and Life Sciences.6 YouTube is, in turn, a subsidiary of Google.

Subsidiary vs. Branch or Division

You may have seen the terms “branch” or “division” used as synonyms for “subsidiary,” but they are not one and the same. A subsidiary is a separate legal entity, while a branch or division is a part of a company that is not considered to be a separate entity.

A branch is usually defined as a separate location within the company, like the Pittsburgh branch of a company whose headquarters is in New York. A division is part of a company that performs a specific activity, such as the wealth management division of a larger financial services company.