March 1, 2024

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government-linked company

A government-owned corporation, state-owned company, state-owned enterprise, state-owned entity, state enterprise, publicly owned corporation, government business enterprise, commercial government agency, public sector undertaking, or parastatal is a legal entity that undertakes commercial activities on behalf of an owner government. Their legal status varies from being a part of government to stock companies with a state as a regular stockholder. There is no standard definition of a government-owned corporation (GOC) or state-owned enterprise (SOE), although the two terms can be used interchangeably. The defining characteristics are that they have a distinct legal form and they are established to operate in commercial affairs. While they may also have public policy objectives, GOCs should be differentiated from other forms of government agencies or state entities established to pursue purely non-financial objectives. Government-owned corporations are common with natural monopolies and infrastructure such as railways and telecommunications, strategic goods and services (mail, weapons), natural resources and energy, politically sensitive business, broadcasting, demerit goods (alcohol), and merit goods (healthcare).

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