MAURITIUS

General Business Information

900px-Flag_of_Mauritius.svgMauritius continues to be among the most competitive, stable, and successful economies in Africa, with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $11.5 billion and per capita income of over $8,400 in 2012, one of the highest in Africa. Mauritius actively seeks foreign investment and prides itself on being open to foreign investment. According to the World Bank report “Investing Across Borders” (published in July 2010), Mauritius has one of the world’s most open economies to foreign ownership and one of the highest recipients of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) per capita. [Source: US Embassy at Mauritius]

Since independence in 1968, Mauritius has developed from a low-income, agriculturally based economy to a middle-income diversified economy with growing industrial, financial, and tourist sectors. Mauritius has achieved steady and strong growth over the last several decades, resulting in more equitable income distribution, increased life expectancy, lowered infant mortality, and a much-improved infrastructure.

The economy rests on sugar, tourism, textiles and apparel, and financial services, and is expanding into fish processing, information and communications technology, and hospitality and property development. Sugarcane is grown on about 90% of the cultivated land area and accounts for 15% of export earnings. The government’s development strategy centers on creating vertical and horizontal clusters of development in these sectors.

Mauritius_(+claim_islands).svgMauritius has attracted more than 32,000 offshore entities, many aimed at commerce in India, South Africa, and China. Investment in the banking sector alone has reached over $1 billion. Mauritius, with its strong textile sector, has been well poised to take advantage of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Mauritius’ sound economic policies and prudent banking practices helped to mitigate negative effects of the global financial crisis in 2008-09. GDP grew in the 3-4% per year range in 2010-13, and the country continues to expand its trade and investment outreach around the globe. [Source: The CIA World Factbook]

The location of Mauritius, situated in the Indian Ocean between Africa, Asia, and Australia, offers an attractive business base and proximity for both regional and international trade. U.S. companies can use Mauritius as a launching platform to tap regional markets through Mauritius’ membership in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), which offer preferential access to a market of 400 million consumers. Mauritius also has free trade agreements with Pakistan and Turkey. It is also in the process of finalizing a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement with India. [Source: US Embassy in Mauritius]

Fast Facts

Capital

Port Louis

Time zone

MUT (UTC+4)

Area

787 sq. mi. (2,040 sq. km.)

Population

1,331,155

Climate

Tropical

Official Languages

English, although spoken by less than 1% of the population

Currency

Mauritian rupee (MUR)

Government

Parliamentary republix

GDP per capita

$16,100

Labor force

637,600

Unemployment rate

8.3%

Main trading partners

India, UK, France, China, US, South Africa, Spain, Italy, Madagascar

Weights and measures

Metric

International dialing code

+230

Internet domain suffix

.mu

Quality of life

Ranked 2nd in air quality index by WHO; highly ranked for
democracy and economic and political freedom.

Doing Business rating

20 (of 189)

Starting a business rating

19

[Source: World Bank, Wikipedia, CIA World Factbook]

Market Entry Strategy

550px-Mauritius_(orthographic_projection_with_inset).svgMauritius offers excellent business opportunities in the following industry sectors:

  • Healthcare and Life Sciences (manufacture of medical disposables, surgical instruments, orthopedic devices, electro-medical devices, and implantable devices)
  • Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing (voice and non-voice verticals; knowledge process outsourcing, multimedia and design)
  • Renewable Energies and Environment (renewable energy through the use of wind turbines and solar power; manufacturing/assembly of renewable energy products; development of green and energy efficient buildings; solid waste management; water management)
  • Knowledge Industries (education and training services in ICT/BPO, hospitality, financial services, healthcare, and property development)
  • Seafood and Aquaculture (processing activities for high graded products such as sashimi tuna; ecofriendly aquaculture)
  • Agro-industries (processed fruit and vegetables; intensive dairy farming; food crop production: potato, corn, soybean; regional food security projects in Mozambique for rice cultivation and other food crops)
  • Manufacturing and Light Engineering: high tech and precision engineering activities
  • Hospitality and Property Development: hotel development, marinas, leisure/amusement parks, health tourism, green tourism, residential property, business/industrial parks, mixed use development
  • Financial Services: banking; global (offshore) business; insurance; capital markets; other financial Services (e.g. brokerage houses, accountancy firms, tax and investment advisers, international law firms, leasing companies)
  • Creative Industries: international art gallery; national symphonic orchestra; creative art schools; professional music recording studio; photography studio and image enhancement; integrated film studio facilities; design and fashion: jewelry, graphic design, products and packaging
  • Logistics and Distribution Services: warehousing and storage; breaking bulk, sorting, grading, cleaning and mixing; labeling, packing, repacking and repackaging; minor processing and light assembly; storage, maintenance and repairs of empty containers; Ship building, repairs and maintenance of ships and aircrafts; quality control and inspection services.
  • Transportation: Light Railway Transit system
[Source: US Embassy in Mauritius]

Establishing a Business

A modern business environment is administered in Mauritius through the Business Facilitation Act. It provides a framework that allows any businesses to start operations on the basis of self-adherence to comprehensive and clear guidelines. It also aims at facilitating entry of foreign investors, as well as attracting foreign talents, know-how, ideas and technology. New, small enterprises can start their business activities within three working days from the time of application for a business permit.

The Companies Act 2001 provides for several types of companies:

  • Domestic Company
  • Company holding a Category I Global Business License
  • Company holding a Category 2 Global Business License

Those companies may be organized as:

  • Company limited by shares: A company formed on the principle of having the liability of its shareholders limited by its constitution to any amount unpaid on the shares respectively held by the shareholder.
  • Company limited by guarantee: A company formed on the principle of having the liability of its Members limited by its constitution to such amount as the Members may respectively undertake to contribute to the assets of the company in the event of its being wound up.
  • Company limited by shares and guarantee: A company formed on the principle of having the liability of its Members
    1. who are shareholders, limited to the amount unpaid, if any, on the shares respectively held by them; and
    2. Who have given a guarantee, limited to the respectively amount they have undertaken to contribute, from time to time, and in the event of it being wound up.
  • An unlimited company: A company formed on the principle of having no limit placed on the liability of its shareholders.

Companies may be public or private.

  • Public company: A public company may offer to sell its shares to the public. A public company may have more than 25 shareholders.
  • Private company.
    1. Must have not more than 25 shareholders, and
    2. Cannot make offers to the public to subscribe for its shares.
    3. May impose restrictions on the transfer of shares.
    4. May dispense with holding of shareholders’ meetings under s. 117 and 106.
    5. May remove a director by special resolution subject to constitution.
    6. May appoint a director aged over 70.
    7. May dispense with the obligation to prepare an annual report by unanimous resolution
    8. May dispense with obligation to keep an interest register by unanimous resolution.
  • Small private companies are ones with a turnover of less than 50 million rupees or such other amount as may be prescribed in respect of its last preceding accounting period. It is not a company holding a Category 1 Global Business License.

Incorporation

  • Name the company.
    1. Any person wishing to incorporate a company in Mauritius should ensure that the name is available prior to incorporation. To reserve a name for a company, an “Application for Reservation of a Company Name” (Form 11) must be completed and lodged with the Registrar of Companies who is responsible for the approval and reservation of names.
  • File for incorporation at the Registrar or Companies
    1. Form 1 – an application for incorporation of a company.
    2. A notice of reservation of name issued by the Registrar;
    3. Form 7 – the consent of every director of the proposed company. (Note that a company is only required to have a minimum of one director);
    4. Form 8 – (if applicable) – the consent of every secretary of the proposed company.
    5. Form 9 – the consent of every shareholder of the proposed company.
    6. Other documents to be submitted: Where the proposed company has a constitution, a certified copy of the constitution by a law practitioner must be submitted together with the above mentioned documents.
  • Register the business, providing the following information:
    1. Name of the company/commercial partnership
    2. Company file number/Commercial partnership files number
    3. The Business name (if any)
    4. The general nature of business and its location
    5. Date or proposed date of commencement of business
    6. Address of the principal place of business
    7. Postal address
    8. Workforce of the applicant
    9. Telephone number, fax number and email address
  • Obtain a Building and Land Use Permit from the local Municipal or District Council. This is a formal request for permission to erect a building or to use an existing one for a particular business.
  • Pay the appropriate (by business type) Trade Fee.
[Source: Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry]

American Corporate Services offers experience and astute for discriminating investors who wish to establish offshore businesses. Whether an investor wishes to immigrate or simply to establish a business entity, our network of professionals has the ability to advise, assist, direct and enable clients to understand and navigate the process for Mauritius company formation.

Our services include everything you need for starting a new business in Mauritius. In addition to helping to establish a Mauritius business bank account, helping you set up your business to conform to Mauritius accounting standards and to comply with Mauritius taxes, we also offer boutique amenities such as Mauritius secretarial services. We can even help you to create a Mauritius virtual office that will appear to others as though you are actually in Mauritius, even though you may be just about anywhere else on the globe at the time. Our business is making your investment a success..