10 October, 2023

Setup Holding Company in Dubai, UAE – Cost & Steps Involved

setup holding company in dubai

What is a Holding Company?

A holding company in Dubai is a type of corporation or LLC that acts as a parent entity, solely owning the stock or membership interests in other companies. Unlike operational entities, a holding company does not engage in:

  • Selling products or services.
  • Manufacturing activities.
  • Direct business operations.

Instead, it oversees subsidiary companies, which fall into two main categories:

  • Operating Companies: These subsidiaries engage in selling, manufacturing, or conducting business operations.
  • Non-Operating Companies: These subsidiaries hold assets like intellectual property, real estate, equipment, or vehicles, which are utilized by the operating companies.

When establishing a holding company in Dubai, it assumes responsibility for overseeing the operational processes of its subsidiaries. The corporation has authority to appoint or remove corporate directors or LLC managers and make significant decisions such as mergers or closures. However, it typically does not involve itself in the day-to-day decision-making of the operating companies.

In simpler terms, if you want to setup a holding company in the UAE, you’ll need to:

  1. Register your company with the Department of Economic Development in the emirate where you plan to establish your business.
  2. Obtain a trade license from the DED, which allows your company to operate.
  3. Depending on what your company does, you may need extra permits or approvals from other government bodies.

By fulfilling these requirements, you can legally establish your holding company and begin operations in the UAE.

How to Use Holding Company in Dubai?

Holding companies in Dubai are utilized across various industries and sizes, often by large enterprises with multiple business units. Many publicly traded firms are structured as holding companies, where investors may not realize they are investing in the holding entity rather than the operational businesses.

Large corporations with diverse product lines, such as FMCG companies producing skincare, hair care, and other products, often employ a holding company structure. This allows for streamlined management with one central holding company overseeing several subsidiaries, each operating independently. Each subsidiary may hold specific assets like trademarks, equipment, or real estate, with operational companies paying for their use.

Smaller businesses and individual entrepreneurs also benefit from holding company structures in Dubai. For example, an entrepreneur interested in rental income from an apartment building may establish two companies: an LLC to own the building and a holding company to own the LLC. Similarly, a business owner looking to expand operations could use a holding company to raise capital by selling shares, funding new ventures like a farmhouse or a fast food restaurant through newly formed subsidiaries.

This approach enables flexibility and strategic management of assets and investments, tailored to both large-scale enterprises and smaller business entity in Dubai.

Also Read : Setup Holding Company in DIFC

open holding company in dubai

Steps to Open a Holding Company in Dubai

Starting a holding company in Dubai involves some specific steps and guidelines. Here’s a simplified process to help you navigate the setup:

1. Select a Company Name

Choose a unique name that complies with local regulations. The name should be free from offensive or disrespectful content. This decision significantly impacts your company’s success, so choose wisely.

2. Select a Location

Decide whether to establish your holding company in the mainland or a free zone. Operating in a free zone allows you to retain 100% ownership.

3. Pick a Management Board

Appoint a management board responsible for setting policies and supervising the activities of subsidiary companies.

4. Appoint Directors

Assign directors for each subsidiary to oversee finances and business operations.

5. Consult Business Experts

The process can be complex, so engaging professional consultants like RadiantBiz Consultants is advisable. They will guide you through setup and assist with daily operations.

cost of holding company in dubai

Cost of Starting a Holding Company in Dubai

The cost of establishing a holding company in Dubai varies depending on business size and location. A well-structured business plan can help minimize unnecessary expenses. Here’s a rough estimate of startup costs:

  • Name Approval Costs: AED 600
  • Initial Approval Costs: AED 120
  • Memorandum of Association Drafting: AED 1,500
  • Office Space Rent
  • Activity Fees: AED 15,000
  • Licensing Fees: AED 10,000

These costs outline essential expenditures involved in setting up a holding company in Dubai, ensuring transparency and clarity for prospective entrepreneurs.

How to Register a Holding Company in Dubai

Registering a holding company in Dubai involves several key steps to ensure compliance with government regulations. Here’s a streamlined process to help you get started:

1. Systematic Planning and Research

Begin by conducting thorough research and planning according to your business goals. Decide on the industry type, the structure of the holding company, and potential subsidiaries. This foundational step is crucial for a smooth registration process.

2. Select a Business Activity

Dubai offers a range of business activities for holding companies, such as investment holding, property management, and intellectual property holding. Choose activities that align with your business strategy and objectives.

3. Choose the Right Location

Selecting the ideal location in Dubai is vital for reaching your target customers and clients quickly. Conduct detailed research to find a location that supports your business plans and enhances revenue potential.

4. Determine the Type of Entity

Decide on the type of entity that best suits your needs. Options include Free Zone Company, Mainland Company, and Offshore Company, each with unique benefits and limitations. Make an informed choice based on your business requirements.

5. Submit Necessary Documents

Prepare all required documents and agreements for the registration process. This includes legal documents that provide essential information and facilitate approvals, ensuring a hassle-free registration.

Following these steps will help you establish a holding company in Dubai efficiently and in compliance with local regulations.

  • holding company in dubai

Requirements for a Holding Company in Dubai

When registering a holding company in Dubai, it’s vital to ensure compliance with all UAE government regulations. If you’re unfamiliar with the intricacies of Company Law, seeking guidance from a consultant like RadiantBiz can simplify the process and ensure all requirements are met for a smooth holding company setup in Dubai. Here are the key requirements:

1. Formation of Management Board:

Establishing a management board is essential. This board will oversee various aspects including:

  • Setting rules and regulations for subsidiaries.
  • Organizing the structure of subsidiaries.
  • Supervising the activities of subsidiaries.

2. Appointment of Directors:

Each subsidiary firm must have a director assigned to it.

3. Capitalization of Subsidiaries:

Ensuring that subsidiaries have adequate capital to operate effectively is mandatory.

4. Risk Management:

Setting limits on the risks subsidiaries can take, such as foreign currency and others, is crucial.

5. Contractual Arrangements:

The holding company is responsible for determining the terms of arrangements and contracts with subsidiaries.

By adhering to these requirements, a holding company can establish a solid foundation for its operations in Dubai, ensuring legal compliance and effective management of its subsidiaries.

advantages of holding company setup in dubai

Benefits of Starting a Holding Company in Dubai

  1. Tax Benefits: Enjoy relatively low taxes, including VAT and corporate tax.
  2. Risk Reduction: Protect your assets from the debts and liabilities of subsidiaries.
  3. Access to UAE Banking: Easily open corporate accounts and apply for loans.
  4. Quick Setup: Establish a holding company quickly with no paid-up share capital required.
  5. Flexibility: Move operations to favorable tax jurisdictions if needed.
  6. Privacy: Ownership details do not need to be disclosed.
  7. Strategic Location: Benefit from Dubai’s central position for expansion into Asian, African, and European markets.
  8. Strong Infrastructure: Leverage Dubai’s modern transportation and communication facilities.
  9. Government Support: Access incentives and assistance from the Dubai government.
  10. Diverse Workforce: Tap into a skilled and multicultural labor pool.
  11. Investment Flexibility: Manage shares and assets across various sectors.
  12. Solid Legal System: Operate within Dubai’s transparent legal framework based on common law principles.

By following these steps and leveraging the benefits, you can efficiently set up and run a holding company in Dubai.

How Holding Companies Work In Dubai, UAE?

Holding companies work a bit differently in Dubai, UAE. Here, they are often used as powerful tools for business growth, asset protection, and tax benefits. In Dubai, a holding company can own shares or assets in other companies both inside and outside the UAE.

One of the main reasons businesses in Dubai use holding companies is to take advantage of the favorable tax environment. The UAE has no personal income tax and no capital gains tax, making it an attractive destination for investors. Holding companies can help in managing assets and profits efficiently while minimizing tax liabilities.

Moreover, Dubai Free Zones offer further incentives for holding companies. They provide 100% foreign ownership, exemption from import and export duties, and simplified business regulations.

Understanding how holding companies work in Dubai is essential for those looking to expand their businesses in the region while maximizing financial benefits and legal protections. It’s a strategy that has helped many companies thrive in this dynamic business hub.


Types of Holding Company in Dubai, UAE

Dubai, UAE offers a variety of holding company structures, each tailored to different business needs:

  1. Public Joint Stock Company (PJSC):

    • Listed on exchanges like Dubai Financial Market or Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.
    • Minimum capital requirement of AED 10 million.
  2. Private Joint Stock Company (PJSC):

    • Not publicly listed, requiring a minimum capital of AED 2 million.
  3. Limited Liability Company (LLC):

    • Popular for small to medium-sized businesses.
    • Minimum capital requirement of AED 300,000.
  4. Free Zone Company:

    • Registered in Dubai’s free trade zones.
    • Offers tax exemptions and regulatory benefits.
  5. Offshore Company:

    • Registered outside the UAE.
    • Used for holding assets or international business operations.

These structures provide flexibility and cater to various business sizes and operational requirements in Dubai, UAE’s dynamic business environment.

Activities Permitted for Holding Companies in Dubai

Holding companies in Dubai are authorized to engage in specific activities primarily focused on asset ownership. These permissible activities include:

  • Holding physical properties, both commercial and residential.
  • Managing intellectual property assets.
  • Owning subsidiary businesses.

However, it’s crucial to note that holding companies are not permitted to:

  • Engage in manufacturing activities.
  • Sell goods or services directly.
  • Directly manage assets held within the company.

These regulations ensure that holding entities in Dubai maintain a strategic and focused role, emphasizing asset management and investment rather than operational activities.

Holding Company in Dubai Free Zone

Setting up a holding company in a Dubai free zone offers several benefits, including asset protection, tax efficiency, and ease of expansion. The costs associated with forming a holding company in a Dubai free zone generally include initial approval fees (AED 120), trade name registration (AED 600), and license application fees (AED 600). Additionally, free zone licensing fees start around AED 15,000 but can total AED 20,000 or more when including other expenses like rental and administrative costs. For precise costs, it’s advisable to consult directly with the relevant free zone authorities

Holding Company in Dubai Mainland

Setting up a holding company in Dubai Mainland offers several advantages, including tax benefits, asset protection, and business flexibility. Holding companies can own shares, control assets of subsidiary companies, and manage real estate or other investments without engaging in direct business operations like manufacturing or sales.

The process involves choosing a company name, getting necessary approvals, and appointing a management board. The costs include name approval (AED 600), initial approval (AED 120), drafting the Memorandum of Association (AED 1,500), and licensing fees (around AED 10,000 to AED 15,000).

Additionally, a local partner must own 51% of the company, and it must be registered through the Department of Economic Development (DED)

Setting up a holding company in Dubai Mainland provides entrepreneurs with a robust structure to manage various assets and investments efficiently


FAQ – Setup Holding Company in Dubai

  • Can a Holding Company Own 100%?
    Yes, a holding company can own 100% of a subsidiary. It can either own all the stock or membership interests of the subsidiary or just enough to control it. Control means having sufficient stock or membership interests to ensure decisions align with the holding company’s preferences.
  • Can I Invest in a Holding Company?
    Investing in a holding company involves directing investments into other companies and assets. It can be beneficial for asset protection, tax minimization, and privacy enhancement.
  • How Does a Holding Company Make Money?
    Unlike traditional operating companies, a holding company generates revenue through asset ownership rather than producing and selling goods.
  • How Do I Transfer Money to a Holding Company?
    You can transfer cash from an operating company to a holding company without incurring taxes. As the sole shareholder of the holding company, you can move excess funds from the operating company through a tax-free dividend.