Kuwait Business Setup and Company Registration
A wholly foreign-owned Kuwait LLC is highly restricted under Kuwaiti law and, therefore, only recommended for big multinational corporations. Consequently, most of our Clients decide to register a Kuwait Joint Venture 51% LLC.
Registering a Kuwait Joint Venture LLC (also referred to as JV LLC)
This entity can be set up within 1,5 months and requires a local Kuwaiti partner holding 51% of the shares. Foreign ownership is limited to 49%.
A JV LLC also requires the appointment of at least 1 director. While the directors can be of any nationality, they must hold a Kuwaiti residency permit. Your Kuwaiti partner (sponsor) will help secure the same immediately after the company is set up.
A legal registered address is a must.
What do our legal services include?
• We assist in choosing the best company structure in Kuwait;
• Assist You or Your organization to set-up business in Kuwait according to Your needs;
• Ensure timely submission of required documentation to avoid delays in processing;
• Help with the issuance of necessary licenses for your new venture in Kuwait
Steps to start a business in Kuwait
1. You do need to have a local (51%) partner (Please contact our offices if you have difficulties to secure the first step);
2. Establishment of a business in Kuwait;
3. Kuwait License Registration (depends on your future activities – the type of license will need to be determined).
Company Legal Structures in Kuwait
• Limited Liability Company Formation (W.L.L – with Limited Liability)
• Branch Office
• Commercial Agency
• Representative Trade Office
• General Partnership Company
• Limited Share Partnership Company
• Holding Company
• Public Share Holding Company
• Joint Venture
Establishment of Limited Liability Company (LLC)
LLC’s usually have a minimum of two shareholders or partners. There must be a local partner with at least 51% shares in the business. It is not possible for foreign entities to own major shares in such business forms in Kuwait.
General Partnership Company Structure
A business should have at least two partners. In a general partnership, partners of the business have unlimited liability to the business and its obligations.
Limited Share Partnership Company
There can be both limited and general partners, and one of each type is mandatory to start a business. While a limited partner is only required for making investments, a general partner is required to handle business activities and have unlimited liability towards the business. Terms of work, responsibilities, P & L sharing depend on the arrangements between the partners.
Establishment of Holding Company
A Holding company in Kuwait is established in order to manage and own other business in Kuwait. A Holding company in Kuwait may own any type of company in Kuwait, including Kuwait Share Holding companies and limited liability companies.
Kuwait Shareholding Company (Public Shareholding Company)
Kuwait Shareholding Company (KSC) is a public shareholding company in Kuwait. It is allowed to issue public share offers for ownership. It must have a commercial registration in Kuwait and this type of structure is a feasible option for those looking for enhanced and third-party investments required for large business projects and activities. Approval from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Kuwait is mandatory for setting up a Kuwait Shareholding Company, and there is a mandatory requirement for at least three board of directors in the business.
Establishment of Joint Venture (JV) in Kuwait
A JV is a legally recognized form of a contract or agreement, but it does not ensure legal recognition as an entity. The roles and responsibilities of a joint venture are as good as mentioned in the contract or agreement, or the Memorandum of Association.
Representative Trade Offices
Foreign companies and investors may open representative trade offices in Kuwait to carry out their company activities. However, such offices are not allowed to make profit-making activities.
Commercial Agencies in Kuwait
A foreign business may appoint a local agent for distributing goods or engaging with local customers. The local commercial agent can be a Kuwaiti citizen or a Kuwaiti company. A signed agreement between the parent company and the commercial agent is mandatory.
Branch Offices in Kuwait
Opening a branch in Kuwait has complicated requirements and regulations. Companies with Gulf Cooperation Council origin or companies owned by GCC citizens are the only allowed companies to open a branch office in Kuwait. Another way to achieve this goal is to gain approval from the Kuwait Investment Promotion Agency (KDIPA).
While residents of GCC or companies from GCC are exempted from paying taxes, foreign corporate entities are required to pay taxes in Kuwait. Tax is calculated on yearly basis and there are additional requirements involved with the payment of taxes.
Corporate tax in Kuwait is a flat 15%.
Please contact our offices for more information.
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