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Doing Business in Morocco

Forms of Business Organisation

The various forms of business enterprises in Morocco are:

• Share companies: the Stock Company (SA), the Limited Liability Company (SARL) and the Limited Company with shares;
• Partnerships;
• entities with specific regulations: investment companies, co-operative societies, consumer co-operative and friendly societies

Besides the sole partnership, the SA and the SARL are the two most widely used types of commercial companies in Morocco.

Stock Company (SA)

The corporation is a commercial company in which the partners are called shareholders due to a right represented by negotiable stocks or shares, and are only liable up to the extent of their contribution. In return, a new law of 17 October 1996 regulates stock companies. This law applies to all stock companies established on or after 17 October 1996.

Companies established prior to that date have until 1 January 2000 to comply with the provisions of the new law. Under the new law, an SA must have paid-in capital of at least DH 300,000 (DH 3 million for "publicly traded companies") and at least five shareholders which can be either legal entities or individuals. The maximum number of shareholders is unlimited. It can be incorporated only after the capital is entirely subscribed. The minimum nominal value of the shares is DH 100.

All stock companies must appoint at least one statutory auditor. The new law on stock companies, published in October 1996, requires the auditor to express an opinion on the annual accounts.

Limited Liability Company (SARL)

The limited liability company is halfway between partnerships and share companies. Small entities generally adopt this form, in part because the rules governing the formation and operations of limited liability companies are less stringent than those that regulate stock companies. The shareholders are only liable up to the amount of their contribution.

A new law of 1 May 1997 regulates the SARL established on or after 1 May 1997. Companies established before this date are granted a transitional period until January 2000 to comply with the new regulations. Under the new law, a SARL must have paid-in capital of at least DH 100,000 and may have between 1 and 50 shareholders. If the number of partners of a SARL grows to exceed 50, the company must be converted to a stock company. The articles of limited liability companies specify the rules governing transfers of shares. A majority of shareholders, generally 75%, is required to approve the transfer of shares to a third party. The limited liability company must appoint at least one statutory auditor.





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