Mauritius

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Introduction to the Country

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Population
1,288,000 (2008 estimate)

Capital
Port Louis

Government type
Constitutional democracy with a president and elected assembly

Legal system
Based on French civil law system with elements of English common law in certain areas. Bilateral investment treaties currently in force with 18 countries including South Africa, UK, France and Germany. Mauritius is a signatory to The Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the "Convention"), but applies the Convention only to recognition and enforcement of awards made in the territory of another contracting state.

Economy overview
Mauritius gained its independence in 1968 and since then has developed from a largely agricultural based economy to embrace the financial, tourist and industrial sectors. Since independence, annual gross domestic product growth has averaged around 4% per annum.

Map

Next election due
By the latest, July 2010 (five year election cycle)

Legal and Regulatory framework

(a) Short introduction to power sector: please highlight the key players/stakeholders in the sector and indicating whether there are any existing independent power projects in development or operation.

The Central Electricity Board (the "CEB") is a parastatal body wholly owned by the Government of Mauritius and reporting to the Ministry of Renewable Energy and Public Utilities. Established in 1952 and empowered by the Central Electricity Board Act of 25 January 1964, the CEB's business is to "prepare and carry out development schemes with the general object of promoting, coordinating and improving the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity" in Mauritius.

The CEB produces around 40% of the country's total power requirements from its 4 thermal power stations and 8 hydroelectric plants; the remaining 60% being purchased from independent power producers. Currently, it is the sole organisation responsible for the transmission, distribution and supply of electricity to the population.

CEB has contractual obligations with five independent power producers (the 'IPPs') that operate under long-term power purchase agreements. They provide electricity year-round using a combination of coal during the intercrop season, and bagasse during the crop season.

These IPPs are Consolidated Energy Ltd., FUEL Steam and Power Generation Co. Ltd., Compagnie Thermique de Belle Vue Ltee, Compagnie Thermique de Savanah Limitee and Centrale Thermique du Sud.

CEB also has power purchase agreements with three continuous power producers ('CPPs') that produce electricity from bagasse during the crop season only.

Corporate vehicle

(i) Project company incorporation:

(A) Type of vehicle: what is the most appropriate type of corporate vehicle for a project and can you describe its key features (e.g. limited liability, shareholding requirements, share capital requirements)?

The corporate vehicle may be incorporated pursuant to the Companies Act 2001 ('CA 01') as a domestic company having limited liability (the "Project Company") and its shareholding will have to be structured according to the different requirements of the promoter of the project.

There are no mandatory share capital requirements and the Project Company may be incorporated with a nominal amount of capital.

(B) Thin capitalisation: are there any issues relating to thin capitalisation?

There are no thin capitalisation requirements under Mauritius law.

(C) Indigenous shareholdings: We have come across requirements in certain jurisdictions to have a specific percentage of shares in a project company held by nationals of the jurisdiction. Please advise whether any such requirements apply in the country. Please indicate any prescriptive requirements or limitations in respect of incorporating a special purpose company such as:

(I) Requirement for a certain amount of equity to be held by indigenous entities;

There are no requirements for shares in a company to be held mandatorily by Mauritius nationals. However, where foreign entities propose to acquire shares in companies holding immovable property, such foreign entities may require the approval of the Prime Minister's office to acquire shares in the Mauritius company.

(II) Thin capitalisation requirements;

There is no such requirement.

(III) Can a limited liability company be established?;

A limited liability company may be set up pursuant to the CA 01.

(IV) Is it possible to use a foreign company or a branch of a foreign company to act as project company?

It is possible to register and continue a foreign company and branch in accordance with the provisions of the CA 01.

(D) What is the estimated timescale for incorporation in the country? Are there any specific fees or other costs payable to governmental authorities in respect of incorporation?

The time scale for incorporation of a company takes around two to three days to incorporate a domestic private company for an amount equivalent to USD 70 payable to the Mauritius Registrar of Companies.

 (a) Key enabling legislation

(i) Key legislation and regulations: please list the key legislation and regulations that govern a project company and a power project, particularly relating to power supply and generation.

  • The Electricity Act 1939 (the 'EA 1939'): This Act extends to every authority, company or person authorised to supply electricity for public and private purposes.
  • The Utility Regulatory Act 2004: As mentioned above, this act provides for the establishment of the Utility Regulatory Authority (the 'URA') which will have the duty to grant licenses to persons who want to generate/supply electricity in accordance with the Electricity Act 2005.
  • The Electricity Act 2005 (the 'EA 2005'): This act has not been enacted yet and will cover the licensing of persons wishing to supply electricity by making applications to the Utility Regulatory Authority established under the Utility Regulatory Act 2004.
  • The Competition Act 2007: This act is not fully enacted and it will contain provisions prohibiting collusive agreements, other restrictive agreements and monopolies, and such acts or behaviours likely to have an adverse effect on the competitiveness of the economy, or to be detrimental to the interests of consumers.
  • The Local Government Act 2003 (the 'LGA 2003'): This act requires an application to be made for a Building and Land Use Permit which has to be issued in accordance with the guidelines issued under the Building Act 1915, Planning and Development Act 2004 and the Town and Country Planning Act 1954.

A Building and Land Use ('BLU') application is a formal request for permission to carry out a proposed development/building.

(ii) Overriding legislation and regulations: is there any legislation or are there regulations that apply to a power project or project company and that prevail over the terms of the project documents, such as the terms of the generating licence?

The relevant laws are mentioned above.

 (b) Powers and capacity of the Government and Constitutional issues

(i) Governmental involvement: which levels of Government will need to be involved in the Project, e.g. national/federal, state, local?

Until the EA 2005 is proclaimed, the CEB is the regulatory body in connection with such projects.

When the EA 2005 is proclaimed, the URA will take over the role of the CEB which shall be responsible for issuing licenses as mentioned above and act as regulatory body of the licensees.

(ii) Powers of Government: briefly, how are the powers of the Government entities referred to in paragraph (i) derived (under statute?);

Please refer to the response in paragraph 1.2 (d) (i) above.

(iii) Powers in respect of the project: what are the powers vis-a-vis the Project and a project company?;

Please refer to previous responses.

(iv) Power to contract: does the Government have the power to enter into the project documents to which it is party (and any direct agreement with the lenders relating to them) and perform its obligations thereunder?

The Government has the capacity to enter into such.

(v) Are there any legislative restrictions applicable to the giving of sovereign guarantees?

There are no legislative restrictions in respect of sovereign guarantees.

 (c) Regulator

(i) Is there a regulator: please advise whether there are any regulators (independent or otherwise) in the jurisdiction with powers/rights in respect of the power project or project company. If so, how are their powers derived (under statute) and what are their powers vis-a-vis the power project and a project company?

Please refer to the response provided in paragraph 1.2 (d) (i) above.

(ii) Power to contract: does the regulator typically enter into project documents relevant to the Project? If so, does it have power to do so?

The CEB has the capacity to enter into contracts as mentioned in paragraph 1.1.

The URA will have the power to examine and make recommendations to a licensee in respect of any power purchase agreement that a licensee proposes to enter into.

(iii) Licence: what is the form of licence or licences (if any) that the regulator (or relevant entity) typically issues? Is it possible to amend the proposed form of licence?

Pursuant to the EA 1939, a permit is issued by CEB for a period not exceeding 20 years which has to be, inter alia, certified by the CEB and approved by the President of the Republic of Mauritius by proclamation. The EA 1939 does not make provision for the amendment of the permit.

(iv) Independence: is the regulator regarded as being genuinely independent from government/the utility? How is the regulator funded?

As mentioned above, the current regulator which is the CEB is wholly owned by the Government of Mauritius and reports to the Ministry of Public Utilities. Being a parastatal body, any change in its tariff structure needs formal approval of the Government.

In addition to the prices charged for electricity supplied, the CEB has the possibility of raising capital by way of loans or debentures and has powers of investment subject to the Central Electricity Board Act 1963.

The URA will be the new independent regulatory authority which will oversee the regulation of electricity including the CEB.

 (d) Procurement

(i) Procurement process: please advise whether there is any requirement to have pursued any form of procurement or tender process prior to awarding the Project.

Other than the application to the CEB for an appropriate license there is no procurement or tender process to be undertaken.

(ii) Other procurement issues: are there any other procurement require
ments in respect of the development of the Project, e.g. to source or favour labour, equipment or machinery from the country?

There are no such requirements.

 (e) Power plants

(i) Power purchase agreement: is there a standard form of power purchase agreement used in the jurisdiction?

There is no prescribed form of power purchase agreement. A number of IPP projects have been concluded, however, and the form of the PPA has become familiar and followed in these projects.

(ii) Independent Power Projects: are there any IPPs in existence?

Please see “Legal and Regulatory Framework” section.

(iii) Merchant power: are there merchant power plants in the jurisdiction, and if so, are these plants allowed to (or obliged to) sell power back to the grid?

There are certain power plants that do not fall into the general definition of merchant power plants but which produce electricity that is sold to CEB and supplied to the national grid.

 (f) Consents required and authorisations from other ministries

(i) Key licences/consents: please list the key licences, permits or consents that are typically required by a project company for the design, finance, construction, operation and maintenance of a power plant.

As mentioned above, the licenses required will include a permit from the CEB pursuant to the EA 1939 (or license from the URA upon proclamation of the EA 2005).

A BLU application is a formal request for permission to carry out a proposed development/building.

An environment impact assessment ('EIA') license has to be applied in respect of a project company to the Department of Environment (the 'Department') in accordance with the Environment Protection Act 2002 (the 'EPA 2002').

(ii) Security: are these consents capable of being secured and are they transferable to the lenders?

The above consents cannot be secured and are not transferable.

(iii) Process of application: please also provide details of all conditions applicable, specifying process, timing and costs for obtaining the consents.

Application under EA 1939

In order for any authority, company or persons (the 'Applicant') to establish an undertaking for the supply of electricity for public and private purposes and for the supply of electricity in bulk, an application must be made to the CEB to act as an undertaker. There is no prescribed application form for such applications.

The application must include a description of the area where the supply of electricity will be provided and also any other information that the CEB may require.

In the event of the CEB considering the application favourably the Applicant must publish the application in the Government Gazette (the 'Gazette'), and any authority, company, body or person wishing to object to the grant of a permit to the Applicant to act as an undertaker should transmit his objection to the CEB in writing by registered post within 14 days of the date of the publication of the application in the Gazette, or within such longer period as the CEB may prescribe.

The CEB may, where it thinks fit and without assigning any reason, refuse to consider any application. After consideration of the application and of any objections, the CEB may, subject to the approval of the President, refuse to grant a permit or may issue a permit on such terms and conditions as it thinks fit. The permit will not, however, be issued for a period exceeding 20 years.

The duration of the permit and the conditions subject to which it is granted will be endorsed on the permit.

The CEB is not obliged to state its reasons for rejection of the application. Where the application is accepted, it will be published in the Gazette as a notice and any person wishing to object to the grant of the permit will have to express the objection in writing to the CEB within 14 days following the publication. The CEB may come to a decision as it thinks fit having reviewed the objection.

Once the permit is issued, the Applicant must ensure that his undertaking is in a fit condition to start supplying electricity.

The CEB will then certify that the undertaking is in the required fit condition.

Following such certification, the President will signify his approval by proclamation to the commencement of supply of electricity by the undertaking in the defined area of supply. The undertaker may then commence supply of electricity.

Application under EA 2005

An application for a license will need to be made to the URA in such manner and form determined by the URA. The URA must give public notice in the Gazette and in 2 daily newspapers of the application and has to inform the applicant, of the outcome of its application, not later than 3 months from the date the application was made or from the date the applicant has submitted any additional information where such information was required of the applicant.

Application under EPA 2002

In respect of an application for an EIA license, the applicant must submit an EIA report in electronic form as well as 15 printed copies of the report to the Department and fill out an application in the prescribed form.

The Director shall review an EIA application submitted by a proponent and determine its scope and contents and refer the EIA application, with such comments and observations as he thinks appropriate, and with any public comment submitted under section 20, to the EIA Committee for examination not later than 42 days after the expiry of the time limit set for submission of public comments.

An EIA may also be submitted through the Board of Investment ('BOI') where the observations requested by the Director will be made within 7 days of the request.

In addition, the Director must then refer the EIA application to the EIA Committee not later than 14 days after the expiry of the time limit set for the submission of public comments.

The Minister of Environment and National Development Unit (the 'Minister') shall after taking into consideration the recommendations of the EIA Committee make his decision on the EIA and the Director shall, as soon as possible but not later than 7 working days after the day on which the Minister makes his decision, give notice in the Gazette and in the newspapers in which notice of application was given, of a summary of the decision of the Minister to approve, or to reject the EIA.

Application under LGA 2003

The BLU application form can be obtained from the following website

http://www.gov.mu/portal/goc/mlge/files/guide/blp3.pdf

together with a guide which sets out a complete guide in respect of the process for such application which may be obtained from the following website

http://www.gov.mu/portal/goc/mlge/files/guide/p_guide.doc

The processing fee of the application is about US$ 17.

 (g) Competition law

(i) Exclusivity: are any rights of exclusivity granted to a project company enforceable?

The Competition Act 2007 contains provisions prohibiting such acts or behaviours likely to have an adverse effect on the competitiveness of the economy or to be detrimental to the interests of consumers.

(ii) Restrictions on competition: are there any restrictions on the ability of a project company to compete freely in the country?

Please refer to the answer given above.

 (h) Environmental regulations

(i) Regulations: are there any environmental or health and safety regulations or legislation applicable to power plants?

In terms of environmental regulations, the relevant requirement is an EIA License which an applicant needs to obtain as mentioned in the preceding paragraphs.

(ii) Additional consents: are there any environmental licences, permits or consents that are required by a project company in relation to a Project? If so, please provide details of how / from whom these licences can be obtained as well as the timing and costs thereof.

Other than the above there are no other environmental licenses required.

Finance and Tax matters

(a) Financial assistance

(i) Are there prohibitions or restrictions on the ability of a company to guarantee and/or give security to support borrowings incurred to finance the direct or indirect acquisition of shares of a project company; or any company which directly or indirectly owns shares in a project company; or shares in a sister subsidiary?

Subject to the provisions of the CA 01, a company may provide such assistance in terms of guarantees and/or securities as mentioned above.

(b) Lending restrictions/banking monopolies

(i) Please indicate whether there are any restrictions or requirements applicable to the importation of capital by lenders to the Project.

There are no restrictions.

(ii) Is there a requirement for the lenders/security agent to be registered in the jurisdiction?

There are no requirements.

(iii) Can foreign lenders lend into the jurisdiction?

Yes.

(c) Restrictions relating to repatriation of dividends

(i) Are there any restrictions relating to repatriating dividends?

There are no restrictions in relation to the repatriation of dividends. It must be noted that, under Mauritius law, a Mauritius company may only pay dividends out of retained earnings after having settled any accumulated losses at the beginning of the accounting period and dividends must be paid in respect of all the shares in a class but not in respect of some only.

(d) Convertibility

(i) Are there any restrictions on the convertibility of the jurisdiction's currency?

There are no such restrictions. It must be noted that all exchange control regulations have been suspended in Mauritius and such suspension of these exchange control regulations may be lifted at any time.

(e) Interest payments

(i) Are there any restrictions on the payment and compounding of interest? If so, does this also affect both local and foreign lenders?

Other than the prohibition on capitalising interest which has been overdue for less than one (1) year under article 1154 of the Mauritius Civil Code, there is no applicable usury or interest limitation law in Mauritius. This prohibition does not affect local lenders.

(f) Tax

(i) Withholding tax: are there any withholding tax issues in relation to interest payments and fees to foreign lenders on loans used by a project company; payment of principal on debt; or payments received under any agreements (other than any referred to above)?

There is no withholding tax under the laws of Mauritius.

(ii) Double taxation treaties: please note the existence of any double taxation treaties.

Mauritius is party to double taxation treaties and a list of such treaties may be consulted on the website of the Mauritius Revenue Authority

(http://www.gov.mu/portal/sites/mra/dta.htm)

(iii) Lender issues: are there any risks that lenders should be aware of in respect of tax liabilities/tax domiciliation as a result of providing debt to the project or project company and/or taking/enforcing security interests?

Foreign lenders will not become (or deemed to have become) resident, domiciled, engaged in the carrying on of business, or subject to taxation in Mauritius as a result of providing debt to the project or project company and/or taking/enforcing security interests.

(iv) Repayment and enforcement: please advise whether loan repayment / enforcement proceeds could be treated negatively from a tax perspective for the lenders.

There is no withholding tax or other tax or duty imposed by the laws of Mauritius on any payment to be made to the lenders.

(g) Stamping costs

Please advise whether stamp duty or similar applies in respect of finance and security documents and security interests (and if so advise on the rate thereof), including the registration of immovable property or vehicles; security documentation, or transfer of assets on enforcement of security; or increase in share capital.

Registration of documents with the Mauritius Registrar General is relevant if it is intended (a) to give a "date certaine" thereto, which date, cannot as a matter of evidence, be disputed in the Mauritius courts, and (b) to make such documents opposable against third parties as from the date of such registration.

Moreover, if the documents are not drawn up in Mauritius, they must be registered with the Registrar General if it is intended to make use of such documents in Mauritius.

Registration duty payable in respect of any deed containing the creation of a fixed or floating charge, or a pledge vary between about US$ 34 to US$ 1660 depending on the value of the loan.

Registration duty payable in respect of a transfer of deed of immovable property not exceeding about US$ 3321 is payable at rate of 5%.

Finally, no registration duty is payable in respect of transfer of movable assets on enforcement of security or increase in share capital.

Security, Enforcement and Insolvency

(a) Overview of security regime

(i) Nature of security: can a security interest be obtained over a company's assets, e.g.:

(A) accounts receivable (book debts);
(B) inventory (stock in trade);
(C) shares of a company (issued and authorised);
(D) equipment;
(E) real property;
(F) insurances; and
(G) project contracts.

Security interests may be taken in respect of the above in accordance with the laws of Mauritius.

(ii) Shares: can shares of a project company validly be pledged and enforced under an English law share charge?

The shares of a project company may be validly pledged and enforced according to the requirements specific to Mauritius law.

(iii) Debt obligations: can a company grant a security interest in order to secure its obligations (i) as a borrower under a credit facility, and (ii) as a guarantor of the obligations of other borrowers and/or guarantors of obligations under a credit facility?

Security may be granted by a company to secure its debt obligations and provided that it is in the best interests of the company, as a guarantor of the obligations of other borrowers and/or guarantor of obligations under a credit facility.

(iv) Revolving credit facility: if the borrowings to be secured are under a revolving credit facility, are there any special priority or other concerns?

There are no special priorities or concerns in respect of a revolving credit facility.

It must be noted however that under the laws of Mauritius secured claims are repaid in order of the following priority:

  1. Costs of liquidator
  2. Amounts due to Government and its Agencies
  3. Wages or salaries due to employees
  4. Costs of compromise with creditors
  5. Payments made pari passu with first ranking fixed and floating charges and mortgages (hypotheque conventionelle) inscribed for more than three years
  6. a landlord's special privilege in respect of a rent
  7. First ranking, fixed and floating charges and mortgages (hypotheque conventionelle) inscribed for less than three years
  8. Claims of victims of an accident
  9. Other privileges, securities and creditors
  10. Amounts due to the Government of Mauritius and its agencies in relation to amounts due and unpaid for over three months
  11. Claims of all other unsecured creditors who have proved in the bankruptcy or winding up

(v) Security agent/trustee: can the relevant security interests be granted to a security agent or trustee on behalf of the lenders from time to time under a credit facility agreement, where the identity of the lenders may change from time to time because of transfers (effected either by assignment or novation) by certain lenders of their interests in the credit facility?

This is permissible under the laws of Mauritius.

Are any steps required to ensure that a transferee of a lender will receive the benefit of the relevant security interests?

Under Mauritius law, upon the assignment of a secured claim, the security relating to such secured claim is automatically transferred to the assignee. The assignment of interests in respect of a facility between lenders will thus necessarily include the assignment of the relevant security interests to the relevant assignee. It is advisable however to enter into specific assignment documentation witnessing the assignment of the benefit of the relevant security interests

Depending on the nature of the assigned security, relevant notifications and filings will have to be made.

By way of example an assignment of a pledge over shares of a company will have to be notified to the secretary of a company in order to enable the latter to update the records on that company.

(vi) Preferred creditors: please indicate the claims that would have priority over the relevant security interests.

Please refer to the response given in paragraph 1.4 (iv) above in respect of the priority of claims.

(vii) Public registry: please confirm if there is a public registry that can be searched to confirm whether a project company has any security documents or any document dealing with any finance arrangement in place, such as guarantees, indemnities or suretyships given by or for the benefit of a project company.

Searches may be effected at the Registrar General in respect of a charge, mortgage and privilege and also at the Registrar of Companies for domestic companies provided that all returns and filings are up to date.

(viii) Formalities: in connection with the creation of a security interest in shares or other assets:

(A) are any governmental or other consents or filings (consider exchange control and similar regulations, perfection, etc.) required;

(B) are any other formalities (for example, notice to creditors, shareholder approvals, notarisations, etc.) required; and

(C) what steps are required to register or otherwise perfect security in the jurisdiction and how long do these steps typically take ?

(D) are there any significant financial costs (including stamp tax, registration, notarial fees, etc.) or significant time delays which would be required in order to create and perfect the relevant security interest?

The filings and perfection steps required depends on the nature of the security interests to be created.

By way of example, a pledge over shares will be perfected immediately upon completion of the following:

(a) the share certificates representing the pledged shares have been remitted to the pledgee;

(b) the company secretary of the company whose shares are pledged have provided written evidence that the pledge has been duly inscribed in the share register; and

(c) an undated share transfer form signed by the transferor only has been remitted to the pledgee.

On average the time taken to perfect a security interest does not take more than 1 week.

(b) Insolvency and enforcement regime

(i) Public register: is there a court or similar register that can be searched in respect of proceedings and insolvency actions?

There is only a public register kept by the Director of Insolvency Service in respect of the discharged and undischarged individuals who have been adjudicated as bankrupt and persons who are subject to a summary instalment order.

(ii) Insolvency process: please provide a summary of the different options for an insolvency related process.

Pursuant to the Insolvency Act 2009, a company may be:

(a) wound up by way of intervention of court or its members or by creditors to the company; or
(b) put into receivership; or
(c) put into administration.

(iii) Expedited proceedings: are summary or expedited proceedings available based on the existence of a note, perhaps governed by the laws of the jurisdiction, or is there any other documentation or are there any steps that could be taken to gain the availability of expedited proceedings (or other priority) in the jurisdiction?

There are none.

(iv) Governmental or other consents: are any governmental or other consents (consider exchange control and similar regulations) required in connection with:

(A) the enforcement of a security interest in shares;

In the event that a security interest in shares is enforced in favour of a non-citizen, permission from the relevant authorities in respect of acquisition of immovable properties in accordance with the Non-Citizen's (Property Restriction) Act is required.

(B) the enforcement of a security interest in other assets; or

In the event that a security interest in immovable property is enforced in favour of a non-citizen, permission from the relevant authorities in respect of acquisition of immovable properties in accordance with the Non-Citizen's (Property Restriction) Act is required.

(C) the enforcement of a guarantee (sovereign or otherwise)?

No consent is required.

(v) Environmental liabilities: do lenders inherit all environmental liabilities when they become owner of the shares upon enforcement (or at any other time)?

Lenders may assume liabilities if they enforce security and acquire the assets as environmental liabilities attach to the property right in a given project.

(vi) Enforcement of security: can security interests be enforced by both private sale and public auction, and is it necessary to appoint a court or other official to carry out the enforcement?

Except where the enforcement must be mandatorily carried out by public auction or court intervention, a security under a security agreement may be validly enforced in accordance with the terms of the security documentation without the need for any judicial intervention.

Corporate, Insurance and Employment matters

(a) General corporate issues

(i) Is a private company free to lend and/or issue guarantees?

Private companies have the capacity to lend and/or issue guarantees subject to the provisions of the CA 01.

(ii) Are there any restrictions on dividend distribution?

Dividend distribution may be effected provided that it is made out of retained earnings and that the relevant company satisfies the solvency test prescribed by the CA 01.

(b) Insurance

(i) Mandatory insurance: are there any insurances which the project company or the Project is required to have by law (or regulations or similar)?

There are no mandatory insurances to be placed under the laws of Mauritius in the present case.

(ii) Placement of insurance: is there any minimum requirement to place the insurance with local insurers or any other similar restrictions? If so, can reinsurance be lawfully placed internationally?

There is no minimum requirement.

(iii) Security over insurances: are there any restrictions in respect of granting security rights over the insurances or reinsurances? For instance, can a local insurer or reinsurer grant security (by way of assignment or otherwise) over its policies of insurance or reinsurance?

There are no restrictions in respect of granting security rights over the insurances.

(c) Employment

(i) Legislative/regulatory issues: is there any legislation or regulation impacting on foreign employees, in particular the conditions relating to work and residence permits? Please give an indication of the process and costs in relation to obtaining work and residence permits.

Except for an investor, a self-employed non-citizen or a professional (a 'Professional') who has applied for an occupation permit through the Board of Investment, a non-citizen must apply to the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment who shall issue the work permit within 2 weeks of the effective date of the application for the permit if the application is approved.

Otherwise in respect of an application made through the BOI by a Professional, the application takes three days to process and to issue an occupation permit which is issued for a maximum period of three years.

(ii) Foreign restrictions: are there any restrictions that apply to foreign employees and foreign contractors/subcontractors and if so what do they need to do in order to comply with local legislation?

Please see the above.

Land

(a) Land registry: is there a land registry (or similar) in the country that can be searched to confirm whether a project company has granted of any mortgage, charge, option assignment, lien or other encumbrance over the whole or part of the properties or assets of a company?

There is no land registrar as such, but if a company creates a charge or mortgage over landed properties in Mauritius, the name of such company will appear in the registers kept and maintained by the Conservator of Mortgages and it will be possible to check whether such company has any encumbrances on its landed properties.

(b) Landlord's rights: please indicate whether there are any rights which accrue to the landlord (or the government or any other bodies) that may override the terms of a land lease or threaten the rights of a project company particularly any right of repossession or acquisition.

Except for the right of the Government to compulsorily take possession of a property in, for example, the interests of the public in accordance with the Constitution of Mauritius, landlords are bound by the terms of their written lease agreements.

(c) Direct agreement: are you aware as to whether a direct agreement in respect of a lease has been previously been provided to lenders on other transactions?

Direct agreements may be entered into by the Government of Mauritius although we are not aware of any such agreements entered into by the Government in other similar transactions.

(d) Forfeiture rights: do relief from forfeiture rights exist and would the lenders be entitled to rely on such rights?

To be updated.

(e) Legislative requirements: is there any additional legislation governing property rights? If so, please advise the nature of the requirements thereof.

The Non-Citizen's (Property Restriction) Act which govern the acquisition of properties in Mauritius by foreigners.

There is also the Mauritius Civil Code which governs the civil ownership aspects of a property.

(f) Enforcement formalities: are there any formalities with which lenders need to comply when enforcing security over land?

There are no enforcement formalities with which lenders need to with when enforcing such securities.

International law and arbitration

(a) Supra-national treaties

(i) Please list the Bilateral Investment Treaties to which the country is party.

Mauritius has entered into Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements with the following countries:

Barbados, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Comoros, Czech Republic, France, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Guinea Republic, India, Indonesia, Korea, Madagascar Mauritania, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, Portugal United Kingdom, Romania, Rwanda Senegal, Sweden, Switzerland South Africa, Singapore, Swaziland, Chad and Zimbabwe.

(ii) Please confirm whether the country is a signatory to the Energy Charter Treaty.

No.

(b) Arbitration

(i) Please advise any requirements and restrictions applicable to the choice of arbitration roles and place of arbitration etc.

A final award delivered by a foreign arbitration tribunal is enforceable in Mauritius, in accordance with the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards Act 2001 which gives effect to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards signed at New York on 10 June 1958.

(ii) Please confirm whether foreign arbitral awards / decisions are enforceable in the country (i.e. is the country a party to the New York Convention on the Recognition of Foreign Arbitral Awards)?

Yes. Please see the previous response.

Renewable Energy

(a) Legislation: please confirm whether the country has enacted any legislation specifically designed to promote and enable the development of renewable energy projects.

There is currently no legislation promoting such projects.

(b) Kyoto Protocol: please confirm whether the country is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol.

Yes

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