GLOBAL BUSINESS SECTOR IN MAURITIUS

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Global Business Activities are regulated by the Mauritian Financial Services Commission which has, amongst other duties, the responsibility of registering global business entities, issuing and renewing global business licences.

There are two types of Global Business Companies available:

  • Category 1 Global Business Licence (“GBL 1”)
  • Category 2 Global Business Licence (“GBL 2”)

All Global Business Companies are governed by the Companies Act 2001 and the Financial Services Act 2007. Depending upon the activities of the Company, the Global Business Company may also be governed under the Securities Act in Mauritius and any other applicable laws such as the PCC Act and the Insurance Act.

In the past, only certain prescribed activities qualified for a Global Business Licence. With the advent of the Financial Services Act 2007, there are no longer such restrictions, but a Global Business Licence will not be granted if the activity is unlawful, contrary to public interest or if it can cause serious prejudice to the good repute of Mauritius as a Financial Services Centre.

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Global Business Company – Category 1 (GBL 1)

A Global Business Company holding a Category 1 licence is best suited to conduct financial services, e.g. fund management, insurance and pension funds, provided that the requisite approval and registration is obtained under the relevant Acts. Under current legislation, a GBL1 company may also offer offshore corporate or management services as the Global Business Sector allows for diversity of activities. A GBL 1 may also engage in non-financial services. Audited financial statements of a GBL 1 must be filed with the Financial Services Commission on an annual basis. Since a GBL 1 is tax resident in Mauritius, it may benefit from the advantages available under the non-double taxation treaties Mauritius has signed with various countries.

Our Regulator, the Financial Services Commission, has given effect to additional requirements for determining ‘Management and Control’ of a GBC 1 for the purposes of tax residency.

A GBC 1 must satisfy AT LEAST ONE of the following criteria:

  1. Has office premises in Mauritius; or
  2. Employs on a full time basis at an administrative/technical level, at least one person who shall be resident in Mauritius; or
  3. Its constitution contains a clause whereby all disputes arising out of the constitution shall be resolved by way of arbitration in Mauritius;
  4. It holds or is expected to hold within the next 12 months, assets (excluding cash held in bank account or shares/interests in another corporation holding a Global Business Licence) which are worth at least USD 100,000 in Mauritius;
  5. Its shares are listed on a securities exchange licensed by the Commission; or

It has or is expected to have a yearly expenditure in Mauritius which can be reasonably expected from any similar corporation which is controlled and managed from Mauritius.

Global Business Company – Category 2 (GBL 2)

A Global Business Company holding a Category 2 licence may conduct any activity barring financial services, corporate services and trusteeship services by way of business. Principal characteristics include:

  1. It must at all times have a registered office and a registered agent in Mauritius, where its statutory records must be kept.
  2. It must have a minimum of one director, who may be a natural person or body corporate; and a minimum of one shareholder, who may be an individual or a corporate body. Shareholders’ and directors’ meetings may be held in or outside Mauritius;
  3. No annual general meeting of shareholders is required by law and shareholders’ meetings are optional.
  4. A company secretary is optional.

As a GBL 2 is exempt from tax, it is considered as non-resident for tax purposes in Mauritius, it will not have access to the benefits of the taxation treaties Mauritius has signed. The GBL 2 is best suited for holding private assets or to consult non-financial services that does not require the benefits of the tax treaties.