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Companies in Qatar

(some helpful information for you about Qatar Companies)

Oil and Gas companies are the driving force of the Qatar economy. However, with efforts to diversify Qatar business and with huge and ongoing building projects, many other types of businesses have been set up in Qatar. The process has surged since the Foreign Investment Law of 2000, set up to encourage and facilitate direct foreign investment in Qatar companies.

Contents:

Permitted Company Structures | Foreign Ownership | Company Taxation | Major Qatar Companies | Links and Resources

Permitted Company Structures

The Scales of Justice: In recent years Qatar has changed investment law to make Qatar more attractive for foreign companies.The following company structures are permitted in Qatar:

  1. Local Joint Venture Company
  2. Branch of a Foreign Company
  3. Joint Liability Company
  4. Partnership in Commendam
  5. Limited Partnership in Shares
  6. Limited Liability Company
  7. Shareholding Company

Notes: Local Joint Venture Company: Refers to the traditional 49/51% split between companies (see below).
Foreign Company Branch : Can be wholly owned but is usually set up for a specific project, and is liquidated at the end of that project

Foreign Ownership:

Partnership: In the majority of cases non-Qatari nationals are not permitted to own businesses outright, and a majority Qatari partner is required who will have a 51% stake of the company. However, following the new 2000 Foreign Investment Law exceptions can be made, especially in industries where the government is trying to encourage investment.

A list of the industries where majority foreign ownership is allowed include:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Manufacturing
  3. Health
  4. Education
  5. Tourism
  6. Power and Projects

    Investors in these areas are also allowed a number of privileges, including:

    1. Buildings constructed in Al Dafna, West Bay. Doha's business area during the recent property boom.Exemption on import duties on imported raw and semi-completed materials (if not available in Qatar) and on equipment and machinery necessary for the company's business.
    2. Ability to transfer ownership.
    3. Ability to repatriate profits on liquidation.

Capital invested is exempted from income tax for a period of ten years.

Foreign ownership is not allowed in the following areas:

  1. Banking
  2. Insurance
  3. Commercial Agencies
  4. Real Estate Trading Activities.

Profit Share

Even when ownership of a Qatar company is on a 49-51 percent basis, it is usually understood that the Qatari partner will not take a 51% share of the profits.

Although the exact arrangement may depend on the clout or 'Wasta' the Qatari partner has, and how active a role he has in the business, there is usually an agreed minimum fee for the partner, with the company paying the majority of their profits in service fees to the parent company abroad.

Don't worry! You don't have to forge business relationships with individuals or strangers. Specialist companies exist to assist with the establishment of foreign companies in Qatar.

Company Taxation:

Tax

Taxation is covered by Law 11 of 1993 and Law 9 of 1989.

Companies owned by foreign nationals must pay tax on their activities. Qatar companies do not pay tax, but foreign partners must pay tax on their share of the business.

GCC citizens and companies are treated as Qatari Nationals for the purpose of tax and therefore do not pay tax on their business activities.

Tax Declarations

Tax declarations have to be made within four months of the end of the financial year. Companies with profits exceeding QAR100,000 have to submit audited financial statements certified by a registered Qatar accountant to support their declaration.

Rates of Taxation in Qatar

Qatar Tax rates start at 10% at profits between 100,000 and 500,000 riyals and rise to a total of 35% for profit above 5,000,000 riyals.

Income Tax:

There is currently no taxation for employees on income tax.

Major Qatar Companies:

Detailed below is a brief summary of Qatar's major energy companies and links to their profiles on Qatcom.

Qatar Petroleum:

Qatar Petroleum is a wholly government owned and operated company and controls, often via its subsidiaries, all oil and gas activities in Qatar, and is the third largest company in the world in terms of oil and gas reserves. Subsiduaries include Qatar Petrochemical Company, Qatar Fertiliser Company, Qatar Liquified Gas Company (Qatar Gas), Qatar Chemical Company and Ras Gas.

Visit Company Listing: Qatar Petroleum Company

Qatar Gas (Qatar Liquefied Gas Company):

Qatar Gas business activities focus on offshore Natural Gas production. Its operating partners are: Qatar Petroleum, ExxonMobil, Total, Mitsui and Marubeni.

Visit Company Listing: Qatar Gas Company

Qatargas II

Qatar Gas II operates two LNG trains and is a partner in the construction of the South Hook Liquid Natural gas terminal in Miford Haven, Wales. Qatar Gas II is jointly owned and operated by Qatar Petroluem and Exxon Mobil.

RasGas

Ras Gas operates five LNG trains in Ras Laffan, with further trains scheduled to come online. The company also produces 10% of the worlds helium. Ras Gas is also owned and operated by Qatar Petroluem and Exxon Mobil.

Useful Links and Resources for Companies

Doha residents relax on the Corniche a day off from the office. The Westbay can be seen in the distanceThe Doha Securities Markets Provides Live Quotes and Company News
Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry: Charged with representing and supporting both the private and industrial sectors of the Qatar economy.
Qatar Business Sites : Listing of useful business sites with links to business articles.
Qatar Financial Center: Aims to attract financial institutions to invest in Qatar.
Qatar Investment Promotion Department: Official department entrusted with attracting corporate and private investors and with stimulating the growth of foreign direct investment in Qatar.
Qatar British Business Forum - British Embassy sponsored organisation set up to stimulate trade and business between the UK and Qatar.
UK Trade and Investment : Business Advice and Help for UK Companies


Credits: Thank you to www.companiesinqatar.com for writing and providing this valuable information.