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Bermuda 'A Top Five Financial Centre,' Says Entrepreneur

by Amanda Banks, Tax-News.com, London

02 May 2007


Bermuda is among the top five financial jurisdictions in the world according to Denis O'Brein, the telecommunications entrepreneur who has incorporated his latest venture in the jurisdiction.

In an interview with Bermudian daily the Royal Gazette, O'Brein, founder of Digicel, the fastest growing telecom company in the Caribbean, said that Bermuda was a "very favourable environment" for international investors.

"It's very safe and is one of the leading financial centres in the world — in the top five," he stated.

O'Brein was speaking following the establishment of his latest entity on the island, Digicel (Central America Holdings) Ltd, which joins Digicel Ltd, the original company which was added to Bermuda's companies registry in 2000. Digicel Group and Digicel Pacific are also incorporated in Bermuda.

Bermuda has a number of company forms that are attractive for international investors seeking to mitigate tax. The Companies Act 1981 (as amended) provides exemption from the 60% local ownership requirement to a company which does not engage in any activity on the island except with other exempt entities.

In Bermuda there are no taxes on profits, dividends or income; there is no capital gains tax, no withholding tax and no sales tax. The main tax impinging on companies is payroll tax.

Digicel recently announced expansion of its services in Central and Latin America with the launch of mobile services in El Salvador and the acquisition of a license to operate a GSM network in Suriname, extending the company's reach to 23 markets.

Digicel's investment in the Caribbean and the Central American region exceeds US$1.5 billion and in 2006 the company recorded a milestone of subscriber growth in excess of 100%.

A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series looking at offshore and onshore corporate structures and their tax implications is available in the Lowtax Library at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/subs_reports.asp and a description of the report can be seen at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/description_report7.asp

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