An archipelago composed of 33 islands, Bahrain is an Arab monarchy in the Persian Gulf, located between the Qatar peninsula and the north-eastern coast of Saudi Arabia. Bahrain has been one of the Gulf's most significant commercial centres for more than 4,000 years.
Export and manufacturing establishments are strongly supported by the government of Bahrain, especially in terms of land acquisition for setting up a factory. Corporate law in Bahrain is not unlike that in western countries, in that businesses can be run as limited liability operations, private companies or other types of incorporations. There are sundry free trade zones in the region, setting up a business where brings along with it a supplementary exemption from commercial taxes, import and export duties, land tax, building and property license fees, and limits on the transfer of capital invested there.
A business setup in Bahrain may be commenced in one of several ways, the most common one is through a limited liability company. One may also set up a free zone company, a branch, or a representative office of one’s overseas company.
A public shareholding company comprises a number of promoters (not less than 7) who subscribe therein through negotiable shares. Accordingly, a partner shall be liable for the company’s debts and liabilities only to the extent of the value of one’s shares.
People planning to offer shares to the public by listing their company in the Bahrain Bourse (BHB).
A closed shareholding company comprises a number of persons (not less than 2) who subscribe therein through negotiable shares. Such shares may not be offered to the public for subscription.
A limited liability company is one of which partners are responsible for the debts and liabilities of the company only to the extent of their shareholding in the capital. If the number of partners falls below 2, the company must introduce new shareholders within a period of 30 days, or by force of the law, be converted to a single person company, or proceed to dissolution. A limited liability company cannot issue public shares, negotiable warrants, or debentures.
A simple commandite is a limited partnership company established by one or more partners, who are jointly liable to the extent of their entire personal wealth for the company’s obligations, and other partner or partners who have invested capital in the company but are not involved in management referred to as “the limited partners”. No limited partner is held responsible for the company’s obligations except to the extent of one’s share in the capital.
A commandite partnership by shares is a company established between two categories of partners – one of which is that of joint partners who are jointly responsible, to the extent of their entire personal wealth for the company’s obligations, and the other is that of limited partners (shareholders) who are not liable for the company’s obligations except to the extent of their equity (shares) in the capital.
Doing business in Bahrain is simple and straight-forward. The steps are –
The legal structure can be one of the corporate entities listed above. One must carefully choose the legal structure of your business as it has a direct impact on how the business will be managed, how ownership is held, the personal liability of the owners, etc.
The next step is to select the company name based on the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC). One can propose up to 4 names at a time.
On verification of the application form and payment of the necessary fees, one can go for commercial registration of the company. For companies, commercial registration papers are issued at the Bahrain Investment Centre and for individual establishments at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce Commercial Registration Directorate.
In case, if one does not get the commercial registration papers right away, one will have to apply for a license or get approval from more than one Governmental authority.
Once the company is registered, you will have to comply with other requirements such as opening a local bank account, leasing an office space, hiring local employees, etc.
With regards to the Bahrain company formation cost, it depends on the type of business activity and business license that is chosen.
It can be difficult if one is an ex-pat to go through the procedure of starting a business in Bahrain. That is where business setup consultants in Dubai like Xcellence can help with the registration. Our consultants have years of experience in this field and can make the process hassle-free.