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A Quick Guide To Structuring Your New Business in Qatar

To conduct business in Qatar, foreign investors are required to establish a legal presence through setting up a company in a structure recognized by Qatar’s Commercial Companies Law. Identifying the correct structure for your company is key to your company’s future opportunities, as it has a direct impact on your personal liability, tax obligations, and ability to raise capital. This guide will introduce you to the basics of the ten structures of companies available in Qatar. In addition, Qshield’s experts are ready to provide personalized guidance to help you identify the perfect structure for your company’s needs.

Simple Partnership Company
This is a company that is formed by two or more persons, who will be personally and jointly responsible for the liabilities of the company. Simple Partnership Companies are well-suited to SMEs and family businesses.

Limited Partnership Company & Limited Share Partnership Company
Both these forms of companies consist of two types of partners. Joint partners (at least one must be a Qatari citizen), are personally responsible for the company’s administration and liabilities. A required minimum of four ‘trustee partners’ can contribute to the company’s capital without being responsible for its management or liabilities except to the value of their shares. Both of these forms are useful for a family business seeking to attract external investors.

Particular Partnership Company

This is the only form of company that doesn’t require registration, and thus does not have a separate legal identity. Creditors can only make claims against individual partners, not the company. This form of company is useful for joint ventures.

Public Shareholding Company

A public shareholding company is a company whose capital is divided into tradable shares of equal value and that can be listed on a stock exchange, issue bonds, and raise capital on the stock market. A minimum of five shareholders is required, and shareholders benefit from limited liability.

Limited Liability Company

This form of company is often chosen by foreign investors, as it requires a relatively small amount of capital (QR 200,000) and it can be established reasonably quickly. An LLC can have between two to fifty partners, and partners are liable only to the extent of their shares, which makes for an investment-friendly structure. However, an LLC cannot be listed on an exchange, issue bonds, or carry out banking or insurance services.

Single Person Company
A single person company is similar to an LLC, except it only has one shareholder—in the form of a person or corporate, which has full liability and control of the company.

Holding Company

A holding company is formed primarily to financially or administratively manage investments in other companies. When a holding company controls at least 51% of another company, the controlled company becomes a subsidary of the holding company.

Article 68 Company

This is a special type of shareholding company formed by the government or another public corporation company that is usually established as a joint venture vehicle for government sponsored projects, particularly in the oil, gas and infrastructure sectors. In this type of company, the government holds at least 51% of the share capital.

Foreign Branch

The foreign branch is an exception to the general investment rule in Qatar, as it allows foreign companies to conduct business in Qatar without having a Qatari partner. However, permission to establish a foreign branch requires the foreign company to have been awarded a contract with either the Qatari government or a quasi-government entity to perform a public service, and is subject to approval from the Ministry of Economy and Commerce. The foreign branch in most cases is subject to Qatari tax laws and is limited to only carrying out work specified under its contract. Registration is only valid for the duration of the contract.
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