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Knowledge Oasis Muscat – Public Establishment for Industrial Estates

Guiding Principle

Introducing Sultanate’s leading technology park, Knowledge Oasis Muscat is a rapidly expanding hub to high-tech, knowledge based firms and IT colleges, located within a large eco-friendly site near the Al-Raseel Industrial Estate and the Sultan Qaboos University.

A. Introduction

Knowledge Oasis Muscat (abbrev. KOM) is seen as a community based IT business incubator, with a mission to develop knowledge and technology-based businesses and to create the next generation of powerful companies and business leaders in Oman. The approach has provided increased job-opportunities and highly skilled professionals for the ICT sector. KOM’s Open House program provides a unique opportunity for learning, interaction and dialogue among the ICT community of Oman.

I. Facts

a) Location

Knowledge Oasis Muscat is a 20,000 square meter technology park located near Muscat International Airport, Oman. KOM is situated nearby Al-Raseel Industrial Estate – the Sultanate’s largest industrial park – as well as the Sultan Qaboos University. Al-Raseel Industrial area is situated in Muscat Governorate. It covers a land amounting to 340 Hectare, of which 220 Hectare have been fully developed and divided into different pieces of land. Al-Raseel Industrial area, since its foundation in 1983, is considered the Omani Main Industrial area. It includes a large and variable group of factories which produce commodities such as chemicals, opticals, electrical cables, foodstuff, clothes, paints, etc.

b) Business Incentives Offered to Foreign Investors

The Sultanate encourages foreign capital for investment in the Sultanate which contributes to enhance development and progress in the country through the investment of unexploited resources; and to contribute to the development and transfer of technology, introducing the possibility of benefiting from administrative capabilities, achieving the advantage of communication with the world via multi-national companies when opening new markets for the Omani products. In brief, the following are the main incentives and features offered at KOM:

  • 100% foreign ownership (local sponsors not required)
  • Minimum capital investment required to establish an entity at KOM (R.O 20,000)
  • High speed internet access with highly competitive telecom rates
  • Omanization percentage (Recruiting Nationals) is 25% only vs. 35% outside KOM
  • KOM tenants can be registered on the Tender Board and bid for government tenders
  • No personal income tax and foreign exchange controls
  • Duty-free access of products from Oman to GCC countries to the eligible industries
  • State-of-the-art offices with plug and play facilities
  • Networking meetings, events and an environment that encourages collaboration and mutual support

II. Knowledge Oasis Muscat Tenant Selection Procedures

Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM) has a four-stage tenant selection process, which should be followed by all potential tenants. Tenants should meet at least one of four criteria (quoted below) to be considered as potentially suitable for occupation within KOM. In addition, the operational activities of all potential tenants must be environmentally acceptable.

At the first stage potential tenants should contact Knowledge Oasis Muscat Authority and fill in the KOM Space Application Form (SAF).

Subsequently, at the second stage, potential tenants will be requested to attend at a mutually convenient time a meeting to discuss the application. Following the meeting a report will be prepared and the application will be considered by the KOM Selection Panel.

At Stage 3, applications will be assessed by KOM and occupancy/lease terms negotiated and agreed.

Finally, recommendations for acceptance of an application must be approved by KOM’s Director General.

KOM’s Tenant Selection Criteria – Occupiers should meet at least one of the following four criteria:

  • Firms/organizations within a Technology or Knowledge-based enterprise sector- occupier undertakes to research, develop or commercialize ICT in any bona fide technology discipline.
  • Focus on product or process design/development/applications in areas that may include, but not necessarily be restricted to, telecom, IT, web, new media, e- Learning, e-Security; animation; environment; IT training (tertiary), engineering, high level technical support or consultancy, call centers. At least 25% of the staff in the relevant unit should be involved in these functions.
  • High Proportion of “Knowledge Workers” in the workforce. At least 25% of the staff in the relevant unit are qualified scientists, technologists, engineers or other ‘knowledge workers’.
  • Secondary tenants with a focus on providing services to primary tenants. Allowable activities may include, but not necessarily be restricted to, financial institutions offering specialist services to technology based companies and other convenience and professional services. (Once the site is more fully developed it may be necessary to restrict the total volume of secondary tenants).

Additionally tenants should secure essential Environmental and Health & Safety Conditions, meaning environmentally acceptable conformity with all Environmental Health & Safety legislation and not including any activities likely to cause a nuisance to other occupiers of the Park.

Other considerations worth mentioning are provisions for small firms, being provision of floor space specifically to meet the needs to small firms undertaking high tech activities (i.e. unit sizes of less than 60m2), regarded favorably and allowing more lenient interpretation of the primary considerations.

B. Establishing a legal entity within Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM)

Knowledge Oasis Muscat offers three legal forms that investors can choose from to get registered under KOM after securing KOM management’s approval. Those three commercial registration types are:

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Branch of a Foreign Company
  • Representative Office of a Foreign Company (Rep. Office)

I. Pre-required Documentation

a) Pre-requisites for Limited Liability Company Registration

  • Company name – Client must submit a written list of 10 possible names for the company in English & Arabic. If a client wishes to operate under an existing company name then the company holding this name must be one of the shareholders.  Further, in the board of director’s resolution, it must be clearly stated that the company in Oman needs to operate with the same name as it has in other countries.
  • Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) company registration application form signed by all the shareholders- the company activities must be listed.
  • Bank Certificate – the certificate is issued by your corporate bank. This certificate will confirm the capital deposited in the bank account under the new company name together with the names of the shareholders and details of their holdings. The capital amount deposited in the bank will define the grade of the company as per Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) Company Grade Classification for LLC Companies in Oman. At KOM, the minimum capital requirement for establishing a company is OMR 20,000 (Twenty Thousand Omani Rials).
  • Board Resolution for establishing the company in the Sultanate of Oman – the resolution needs to be translated into Arabic, or be a dual English-Arabic document that is signed by all the parties (signatures for corporate shareholders should be by their authorized signatories).
  • Letter of request to MOCI for Investor Certificate – written in Arabic, addressed to MOCI by the company manager, requesting for an Investor Certificate or stating that one is not required.
  • IDs of the intended shareholders; copies of passports.

b) Pre-Requisites for a Branch Office Registration

  • A copy of the Agreement (or a contract) between the Company and the Omani governmental institution.
  • A certified copy of the Memorandum of Association or the Statute of the Company at its Headquarter (H.Q.).
  • A certified copy of the certificate of registration of the company at its H.Q.
  • Documented authorization to sign for the manager / branch managers.
  • Letter stating the responsibility of the H.Q. on the work of its branch in Oman.
  • Minutes of Meeting for opening a branch.

c) Pre-Requisites for a Representative Office of a Foreign Company Registration

  • A certified copy of the Memorandum of Association or the Statute of the Company at its Headquarter.
  • A certified copy of the certificate of registration of the company at its H.Q.
  • Documented authorization to sign on behalf of the manager / branch managers.
  • Letter stating the responsibility of the H.Q. on the work of its branch in Oman.
  • Board of Directors/Minutes of Meeting for opening a branch.
  • An attested letter certifying that the mother company has at least three branch offices overseas.
April, 2013 Catherine Jaskiewicz
Meyer-Reumann & Partners, Muscat Office
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