Corporate services

Antares’s extensive knowledge of Thai business law enables us to assist you in choosing the best entity for your business. Thailand’s foreign business laws are complex and we can help you navigate these laws and set up the right structure in order to ensure you are in compliance.

To navigate these rules, it’s best to have
professional & legal guidance.

Company Setup

Setting up a company in Thailand and choosing the proper corporate structure can be a complex process. In a challenging legal environment, one-size-fits-all
solutions do not regularly meet your business venture’s specific requirements. Rather, an in-depth understanding of your business is key to providing you with a custom-tailored solution for your investment. This necessitates a consideration of your planned investment in Thailand, the number of foreign staff, your specific area of business, your customer’s demands, as well as legal, tax and administrational requirements from your headquarters, if any.
We strive to enable you 100 percent foreign ownership of your investment. In the case that practical or legal restrictions prevent such an outcome, we are able to advise on a structure that allows you to maintain full control over such a corporate structure – to the maximum extent legally feasible.

Our experienced legal staff will guide you through the legal obstacles and advise you with respect to practical implications resulting from local culture, language and customs.

Depending on the nature of your business, the following corporate structures might suit :

Thai Majority Company

If you decide that your company will have a Thai business partner or investor, the restrictions by the Foreign Business Act would not be applicable as the Thai partner would hold the majority of shares in your company.

With the appropriate corporate structure, you are able to create limits on the Thai partner’s control over such a company. Some examples include categorizing different classes of shares, regulating dividend distribution and setting up a separate shareholders’ agreement. A majority in equity, therefore, does not automatically have to translate into a majority of voting rights and/or dividends.

Antares Advisory can draft for you the Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association, which regulate the specifics of the company. This includes share structure and distribution, types of shares, voting rights, quorum, directors, dividends, auditors and any other essential regulations and characteristics of the company. In the last step, these documents are filed and the company’s Certificate of Registration as well as supporting documents will be issued.

We strongly advise against using Thai nominee shareholders (investors who are holding stocks on behalf of someone else) to artificially create a majority Thai company, as this will be considered a circumvention of the Thai Foreign Business Act. Therefore, any Thai investor must credibly appear as being a genuine investor (e.g. the ability to finance the share capital signed up for must be realistic, with respect to such person’s financial situation and/or educational background).

Should you not be able to find any such Thai investor, we do recommend considering a Thai holding company option.

Thai Holding Company

Under Thai law, having a Thai shareholder who holds shares on behalf of somebody else without having invested their own capital (“Nominee Shareholder”) is illegal and therefore, not recommended.

Therefore, we suggest finding a genuine Thai partner to join your business venture. However, it can be difficult to find an affluent local investor to set up such a partnership through a holding structure. Note that a wealthy local investor is not needed and a trusted local person is sufficient.

Basically, a holding company structure consists of two separate legal entities. Instead of offering shares in your operating company, we will set up a second company (“Holding Company”) to hold the majority shares of your operating company. This holding company will have a substantially lower registered capital (as low as 100,000 THB) than the operating company, having the sole purpose of holding the majority shares of your operating company as an investor.

As a result, you need to find a Thai investor who is able to credibly finance 51 percent of 100,000 THB – rather than 51 percent of more than one million THB. The holding company requires a loan from your head office in order to finance the purchase of the majority of the operating company’s shares. Via a respective loan and pledge agreement, these shares will be pledged to the head office as a collateral for this loan.

The operating company will be held 51 percent by the holding company and 49 percent by yourself. The holding company will be held 51 percent by your real local investor and 49 percent by yourself. Therefore, both will be regarded as Thai companies and be able to engage in all business activities.

A structure of this nature can be established in five to seven business days.

BOI Company

The Board of Investment (BOI) is Thailand’s investment promotion agency and provides investment information and services to both Thai and foreign investors. Since January 1, 2015, a new investment promotion policy was enacted, representing the biggest change in the last 15 years.

A BOI promotion may include the following incentives and exemptions:

• Eight year corporate income tax exemption
• Exemption or reduction for import duty on imported machinery/raw materials
• Visas and work permits for foreigners without meeting the capital and Thai employees requirement
• Permission to use foreign unskilled workers
• The right to foreign land ownership

A useful BOI application does require that your planned venture is a promoted activity and meets certain minimum capital investment requirements and further conditions as set for each individual promoted activity.

A BOI application can be successfully completed in one to two months.

Branch Office

A branch office is a 100 percent foreign-owned branch of a foreign headquarters. It is an extension of a foreign company without being a legal entity on its own. As there are no shareholders or directors, there is no need for local shareholders.

As opposed to an ordinary company setup, the application is not an automated process, but rather an application considered and approved by a special committee based on the project’s merits for Thailand (e.g. technology transfer). The success of the application depends on the size, capital and track record of the parent company, as well as on how innovative the product/service is and whether there is already a local competitor in the market. Due to the complexity of the application, the setup costs and time required are considerably higher than for an ordinary company setup.

A successful application requires working capital of at least 3 million THB per each business category and has to be brought into Thailand in certain intervals.

As a branch office is not a legal entity, it is important to consider the tax side beforehand. As income directly earned by the foreign head office from sources within Thailand might be considered as being subject to Thai tax by the Thai Revenue Department.

The application process requires approximately two to three months from the day that all required documents are on hand.

US Amity Treaty

U.S. citizens and corporations do enjoy benefits via the Treaty of Amity and the economic relations between Thailand and the United States of America. This allows U.S. citizens to 100 percent own a company without any need of a Thai partner and without being restricted by the limitations and restrictions of the Thai Foreign Business Act.

The U.S. Amity Treaty, basically, gives U.S. citizens the same benefits as Thai nationals, except for the following:

• Owning land
• Exploiting land and other natural resources
• Engaging in the business of inland communication and transportation
• Engaging in fiduciary functions and banking
• Engaging in domestic trade of indigenous agricultural products

Antares Legal Advisory does have extensive experience with Amity Treaty applications and can support you in applying for a certificate of treaty protection (Alien Business Certificate) from the Department of Business Development.

The estimated timescale for the certificate application is 30 days from the date we have all required information, documentation and required signatures at hand.

Representative Office

A representative office is a foreign company’s office in Thailand. It is not an independent legal entity and therefore has no (local) shareholders. The application is, unlike an ordinary company setup, not an automated process but an application that is considered and approved by a special committee based on the project’s merits for Thailand.

A representative office must not engage in any profit-seeking/profit-making enterprises, not make sales offers, nor engage in business negotiations with any person in Thailand.

It is restricted to the following:

• Finding suppliers of goods or services in Thailand for the overseas head office
• Checking and controlling the quality and quantity of goods purchased or hired by the head office for manufacturing purposes in Thailand
• Providing advice on various aspects of goods sold by its head office to agents, distributors and/or customers in Thailand
• Providing information to interested persons in Thailand concerning goods or services of the head office
• Reporting to the head office on movements of business in Thailand

The representative office is required to remit its entire operating expenditure (e.g. for salary and rent) from abroad, in a total of at least 3 million THB over a period of five years. However, 2 million THB of this full amount has to be remitted within the first year.

Up to two foreigners can qualify for a work permit. If goods/services are sourced or their quality is controlled, up to five work permits may be issued.

The application process requires approximately two to three months from the day that all required documents are on hand.

Permits and Licenses

Certain activities do require additional licenses. This includes:

• Factory Licenses
• Recruitment License
• Tourism of Thailand License (TAT)
• FDA (Import) Licences, Product Inspection for FDA
• Warehouse Inspection Approvals
• Import/Export Cards
• Food Licenses
• Alcohol Licenses and Cigarette Licenses
• Copyright Music Licenses
• Entertainment Licenses

We can advise you if your company requires any additional licenses and support you in obtaining licenses from the appropriate Thai authorities.