How to Register a Holding Company in Kenya

How to Register a Holding Company in Kenya: A Guide

Holding companies are formed to own and control other companies’ stock or assets. They offer various advantages, including asset protection, tax benefits, and streamlined management. If you’re exploring setting up a holding company, understanding the registration process in Kenya is key. Let’s explore how to register a holding company in Kenya.

What is a Holding Company in Kenya?

A holding company in Kenya primarily holds controlling shares in other companies, known as subsidiaries. They don’t directly engage in the production of goods or services but rather focus on managing and controlling their subsidiaries.

Prerequisites for Registering a Holding Company in Kenya

Before starting the registration process, consider these requirements:

  • Directors: Your holding company must have at least two directors who are Kenyan citizens aged 18 or above.
  • Shareholders: A holding company needs to have shareholders who determine its ownership structure.
  • Business Purpose: Clearly define your company’s objectives for holding assets or shares in other companies.
  • Certificates of Good Conduct: Obtain Certificates of Good Conduct for each director.

Steps on How to Register a Holding Company in Kenya

The registration process for holding companies in Kenya is similar to other business structures, with additional considerations:

  1. Company Name Search and Reservation: Choose a unique name that reflects your company’s purpose as a holding entity and reserve it on the eCitizen portal.
  2. Company Registration: Register the company on eCitizen, typically as a limited liability company, providing the required information and paying registration fees.
  3. Approval from Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) for Non-Operating Holding Companies: If your holding company won’t engage in any other business activities aside from holding shares, you’ll need approval from the CBK. This involves submitting an application with documents such as:
    • Certified copies of the Certificate of Incorporation, Memorandum and Articles of Association
    • Directors’ and shareholders’ details
    • Board resolutions
    • Financial information
    • Any other documents the CBK may require

Additional Considerations When Registering a Holding Company in Kenya

  • Taxation: Understand the tax implications regarding holding companies in Kenya. Consulting with a tax specialist is advisable.
  • Legal Structure: Seek advice from a legal professional to determine the optimal legal structure for your specific holding company.

The Cost of Registering a Holding Company in Kenya

Here’s a breakdown of the estimated costs involved:

  • Name Search and Reservation: Approximately KSh 150
  • Company Registration: Fees range between KSh 10,000 – KSh 20,000
  • CBK Approval Fees (if applicable): CBK charges specific fees for processing the application for non-operating holding companies. Refer to the CBK website for the latest figures.
  • Additional Costs: Legal and tax advisory fees

Benefits of Registering a Holding Company in Kenya

  • Asset Protection: Holding companies can protect assets by separating them from operational risks of subsidiaries.
  • Tax Efficiency: Potential tax benefits may be available depending on the structure of the holding company and its subsidiaries.
  • Centralized Management: Holding companies streamline decision-making and management for a group of companies.
  • Diversification: Holding companies allow for diversification of investments across various subsidiaries and industries.

Challenges of Registering a Holding Company in Kenya

  • Increased Regulation: Holding companies may be subject to stricter regulations compared to regular operating companies.
  • Complexity: The structure and management of holding companies can be complex, often requiring specialized expertise
  • Potential Double Taxation: Without careful planning, holding company structures could lead to double taxation issues.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What’s the difference between an operating and a non-operating holding company?

A: Operating holding companies engage in business activities alongside holding shares in subsidiaries. Non-operating holding companies only focus on asset ownership and control of subsidiaries.

Q: Do I need separate registration for each subsidiary?

A: Yes, each subsidiary will need to be registered individually as a separate legal entity.

Q: Can foreigners register a holding company in Kenya?

A: Yes, but there may be additional requirements regarding ownership structure and work permits.


Knowing how to register a holding company in Kenya requires navigating some additional steps compared to a typical business registration. Engaging with legal practitioners and tax advisors can make the process smoother and ensure a structure suited to your needs.

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