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Doing Business in Lebanon
 
 
 

Forms of Business Organisation

The following forms of business entity are available to foreign nationals and foreign entities to undertake business activities in Lebanon:

Joint Stock Company - Société Anonyme Libanaise (S.A.L.)

To form a Joint Stock Company a minimum capital investment of LL 30,000,000 is required, along with at least 3 founding members. The Board of Directors may have between 3-12 members, as long as the majority of the members are Lebanese. The company’s head office must be in Lebanon and a foreign-national chairman may only hold office if he/she has a work permit (this rule does not apply to the chairmen of banks, and offshore or holding companies, which are usually formed as joint stock companies).

Generally, the law does not place minimum requirements on the percentage of Lebanese ownership of joint stock companies. However, if the company’s objectives include trading real estate in Lebanon, 50% of the company’s capital must be owned by Lebanese nationals. Furthermore, there are specific ownership requirements relating to the purchase of real estate in Lebanon.

Limited Liability Partnership Company - Société à Responsabilité Limitée (S.A.R.L)

The formation of a Limited Liability Partnership requires a minimum capital of LL 5,000,000. The partnership must have at least 3 partners of any nationality; a manager who can be a non-partner; and an auditor if its capital exceeds LL 30,000,000. If the number of partners exceeds 30, the company must change its registration to a Joint Stock Company within 2 years or be forced to dissolve. A Limited Liability Partnership may not engage in any activities involving the business of insurance, savings, banking, capital investments, and air transport.

The Limited Liability Partnership must register with the Commercial Register in the district where it is located, as well as with the Patent Office of the Ministry of National Economy and Commerce.

Holding Company

According to Lebanese Law No. 45/83 which governs the establishment of holding companies, the activities of a holding company are limited to the following:

• the acquisition of shares/equity;

• management and granting of loans to companies operating within Lebanon in which the holding company owns at least 20% of the shares;

• holding and leasing of patents, inventions, concession rights, and registered trademarks; and

• the purchase of goods and real estate needed for its operations.

A holding company must be established in the form of a joint stock holding company and it must have its head office in Lebanon. A minimum capital investment of LL 30,000,000 is required. Its board must consist of at least 2 members who are of Lebanese nationality. A non-Lebanese chairperson, provided he is resident abroad, may operate without a work permit. Board and shareholders’ meetings may be held abroad. The company must be registered in the Commercial Register and in a special register for holding companies.


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