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An ansvarlig selskap (Norwegian pronunciation: [ɑnˈsʋɑːɭɪ ˈsɛlˈskɑp]; English: liable company) is a Norwegian legal form, mainly used in small and medium-sized enterprises, in which the company's individual owners are held personally liable for any outstanding debts acquired by the company. It is similar to a general partnership.
If one participant is unable to pay his or her share of the debt it can be collected in full from the other participants. It is usually abbreviated ANS when used in company names.
Unlike an aksjeselskap, anyone is eligible to start an ANS, as the model does not require any starting investment capital. Hence it is a widespread form of company in smaller, low-risk business areas. For more economically risky ventures, an AS would be preferable, as the personal financial losses in the event of a bankruptcy would be limited to the capital invested - i.e. with a bankrupted AS with a 2 million NOK debt, the investors would only stand to lose the invested capital, for instance 100.000 NOK. In an ANS or enkeltpersonforetak, however, the owner would be personally liable for the entire 2 million. In the case of several owners, where one is unable to pay, the entire sum would be collected from the others. Using the form selskap med delt ansvar (DA) with 2 investors and a 50% liability share, each would be liable for 50% of the debt, and if one should be unable to pay (in the case of personal bankruptcy), the other would still have to carry no more than his 1 million NOK debt.
A business does not need to include the abbreviation for its type in its day-to-day operations, although it is required to register this in its legal name. As an example, a self-employed plumber in an ANS could name his shop "John Smith Plumbing", while the mail address, legal documents and so forth would have to carry the name "John Smith Plumbing ANS".