Ultimate beneficial ownership of Egyptian companies is now subject to mandatory disclosure according to the new amendments introduced to the executive regulations of the commercial register law no. 34/1976 by virtue of the ministerial decree no. 41/2020 (the “Amendment”).
Scope of the disclosure
The Amendment introduces a new requirement for companies (and other legal entities registered under the commercial registry) to maintain a register of the ultimate beneficial owners of the company (the “UBO Register”). The information required to be included in the UBO Register includes, but is not limited to the name, nationality, national ID number for Egyptian individuals, passport number for non-Egyptian individuals or registration number for juristic persons that enjoy beneficial ownership/control over the company (the “Required Data”). The Register is required to be updated regularly with any changes to the Required Data.
Public Accessibility to Information
The Amendment further provides for the inclusion of a new column in the commercial register extracts reflecting the most up-to-date information in the UBO Register. In other words, the Amendment has now made the information on the ultimate beneficial ownership of companies available in the public domain.
The Amendment classifies the Required Data as material information required for registration of companies or annotation in commercial registers. In addition, companies are required to maintain the Register during the entire term of the company’s operations and for a period of five (5) years after the company ceases operations or in the case of de-registration from the commercial register.
Entry into Force
The Amendment is effective as of March 09, 2020. It is still unclear how these new regulations will be effected in practice as the Amendment does not stipulate for a specific grace period for compliance or for the consequences of non-compliance. Compliance will be necessary upon the renewal of the commercial registration or introduction of any updates to the register.
There is no specific penalty for non-compliance with the abovementioned Amendments. Accordingly, the general penalty stated in the commercial register law will be applied, whereby, any violation to the provisions of the commercial register law and the executive regulations shall be penalised with a fine at an amount that is no less than EGP 10 (approximately USD 0.64) and that does not exceed EGP 100 (approximately USD 6.37). This penalty may be duplicated in case of recurrence.
This document is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.