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Company Ownership

It is also perfectly legal for a Thai company to own land in Thailand and for up to 49% of such a company to be owned by a foreign shareholder or shareholders.  Moreover, such foreign shareholders can have majority voting rights within the company.  However, it is illegal for the Thai shareholders in such a company to be nominees, although the questions of what are and what are not nominees and how to prove that a shareholder is a nominee are not ones that are necessarily easy to answer.

In practical terms, many thousands of foreigners have set up Thai companies, with 51% or more Thai shareholders and adjusted voting rights which give the minority foreign shareholder control of the company, in order to purchase and effectively own properties in Thailand.  Whether or not the Thai shareholders in such companies would be classed as nominees depends to a large extent upon how the company has been set up, and obviously this is an area in which it is important to take good legal advice.  I know of one lawyer who put his company set up “model” before the authorities in order to test its validity and received confirmation that it was perfectly legal and legitimate, that the Thai shareholders would not be classed as nominees.  Other companies set up differently, if ever they were “tested” may fare differently, so taking the right advice is important.

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