I once met a seasoned professional in Grand Baie in the North of Mauritius. Born and bred in the UK, he moved to Mauritius 5 years ago. Upon striking a conversation with the man, he revealed his expertise to be treasury management. He has run this function for a few companies over the course of a career that spans 4 decades. His work life often brought him to tough locations. He mostly worked in the mining industry, but he has also covered a couple of other industries. “There was a time you literally had to take a bag of hard currency and travel to far-away places to make payments”, he told me, recalling his times in Latin America 30 years ago. He used to be accompanied by a banker from a top London bank. But it is a fact that banking in some parts of the world remains quite underdeveloped. This can complicate treasury management for international businesses.
Managing treasury from Mauritius is hassle-free
Over the last 15 years, my friend has been working mainly in Africa for a conglomerate with operations in 10 countries of the continent. Corporates require unbridled access to their treasury to optimise operational efficiency and profitability. “Foreign exchange restrictions are a terrible thing,” is one of his complaints. It can be a nightmare to arrange for hard-currency at times to make cross-border banking payments: you have plenty of cash, you run a business with supernormal profits and yet you are hard-currency poor.
That is the reason why the conglomerate sent him to Mauritius 5 years ago.
An apartment in a condominium facing the sea, a laptop on a small desk on his balcony, 2 phones on his side and a small team of 5 people in an office 5 minutes’ walk away; in effect this is all that our treasury management guru needs to get his conglomerate to operate payments smoothly across Africa.
He has master bank accounts in Mauritius and in several countries with sub-accounts for each of his operating subsidiaries. All revenues that are cross-border generated are collected by him and all international procurement for the operating businesses are settled by him. These master bank accounts enable him to accomplish netting of obligations, something which separate operating subsidiaries could never do.
Mauritius, a prolific business hub
Last year, the group decided to take this further. They decided that henceforth all international procurement will be done from Mauritius. This means the group’s trading can be settled by the treasury company established in Mauritius, but also that the imports are actually done by a Mauritian company which then on-sells to the operating subsidiaries – this includes raw materials and equipment.
On the treasury management function, the Mauritian government grants 5 years of tax holiday while the trading profits on international procurement is taxed at a flat rate of 3%. “This is only a bonus”, my interlocutor told me, “I would choose to work in Mauritius in any case”.
NWT is licensed by the Financial Services Commission in Mauritius and by the Association Romande des Intermédiaires Financier (ARIF), a self-regulatory body approved by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) in Switzerland.
Speak to us about the Mauritius Treasury Management Regime or International Trading, and find out how NWT’s Corporate Solutions can help you in these areas.
18 February 2022