A partnership firm can most definitely be converted into a private limited company. The essentials would be meeting the requirements of incorporation of a company. Broadly put, these would be the following
A minimum number of 7 partners/ borad of directors required
The minimum share capital of Rs. 100000
The Firm's paid up capital shall need to be divided into shares of the company
The Memorandum of Association shall need to be redrafted- specifically the object clause enabling the company to acquire the assets and liabilities of the partnership
Of course, these are a mere outline you would need to consult a lawyer in order to put plans to action. You will appreciate your lawyer would be able to give you detailed advice depending on your specific case.
5th November 2012 From India , Delhi