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Doing Business in St Kitts & Nevis
 
 
 

General

Within the Federation of St Kitts & Nevis, the island of Nevis has a considerable degree of autonomy, which it has used to establish offshore legislation which is different from that of the Federation. Enterprises in Nevis can therefore choose between Federation or Nevisian forms, while enterprises in St Kitts can use only Federation forms.

Two bills strengthening the jurisdiction's offshore legislation were passed into law by the Nevis Island Assembly at its meeting on January 26, 2009. These were the Nevis Limited Liability Company Ordinance and the Nevis International Insurance Ordinance.

The amendments to the International Insurance Ordinance tightened some issues in the legislation surrounding reinsurance companies’ share capital which lowered the threshold requirement from $200,000 to $75,000.

Forms of Business Organisation

Private Company

Private companies may be limited by shares or by guarantee, and are formed under the Companies Act 1996, which has effect in St Kitts & Nevis. They have the following characteristics:

• a minimum of one shareholder is required and a maximum of 50 are permitted;
• either registered or bearer shares may be issued:-
        • bearer shares must be deposited with a regulated company in St Kitts;
        • nominee shareholder service is available for registered shares;
        • fractional and treasury shares are permitted, but shares cannot be sold at a discount except for commission payments;
        • public offers of shares may not be made;
• a private company must have at least one director – every company must have a secretary and may have one or more assistant secretaries who, or each of whom, may be an individual or a body corporate;
• every company must hold an annual general meeting unless all the members of a private company agree in writing not to;
• no annual returns required;
• certain words are prohibited in company names and the company's name must end in "Limited", "Corporation" or their abbreviations;
• all companies must have a registered office in the Federation to which communications and notices may be addressed; however a registered agent is not required;
• every company must keep a register of members.

One or more persons associated for a lawful purpose can form a company by subscribing their names to a Memorandum of Association written in the English language. Incorporators either adopt model Articles or draw up their own Articles of Association. These documents are submitted to the Registrar of Companies along with payment of a EC$540 ($200) registration fee, after which a certificate is issued. In its Memorandum, a company limited by shares must state the maximum number of shares that the company is authorised to issue and the share value, which can be expressed in any currency but may not be printed on share certificates. A company limited by guarantee must state in its Memorandum the number of members it proposes to register and the amount of the guarantee expressed in any currency.


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