Cyprus - Country Commercial Guide
Distribution & Sales Channels

Discusses distribution network from how products enter to final destination, including reliability of distribution systems, distribution centers, ports, etc.

Last published date: 2021-09-30

Overview

Republic of Cyprus:

Most imported products and services are handled through agents and distributors.  While most agent agreements may not be exclusive, most distributor agreements are.  In some cases, a distributor may obtain an agreement to represent a company in both Cyprus and Greece and often in Eastern European countries as well.  There are several major local and European supermarket chains and a few department stores.  Most companies in Cyprus are relatively small, family-owned and operated, although there are some notable exceptions.  Big companies representing several brands have their own distribution centers based out of industrial areas in the major cities.  All products sent to Cyprus are shipped through Limassol port.  A recent trend is for foreign investors and companies to enter the market by purchasing existing companies in the ROC.

Area Administered by Turkish Cypriots:

The market structure in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots is comprised of mostly small, family-owned and operated businesses.  Imports are handled by agents and distributors and usually arrive through Turkey.  There are several local and Turkish supermarket chains and a few department stores.  Most products shipped to the area administrated by Turkish Cypriots arrive at Famagusta port via Mersin in Turkey.

Using an Agent or Distributor

Republic of Cyprus:

Several U.S. companies are already represented in Cyprus on an agency/representative basis.  Cypriot agents/representatives normally market U.S. products and services under binding agency agreements based on commissions.  In Cyprus, a commercial agent must register with the Council of Commercial Agents and receive a license with a registration number.  The Embassy Political/Economic Section can provide U.S. companies with assistance in finding and selecting an agent, distributor, or partner through our Gold Key Service (GKS) or International Partner Search (IPS) services.  If you have already selected a partner, before you finalize and sign contracts, our office can prepare a due diligence report on your prospective partner through the International Company Profile (ICP) service.  For more extensive assistance, U.S. companies can use our Platinum Key Service (PKS), and for promoting specific products or services to the Cyprus market, the Single Company Promotion (SCP) service.  For more details, please see our list of services (https://cy.usembassy.gov/business/services-u-s-companies/).

The Embassy Nicosia website’s Business Tab, provides a non-exhaustive list of Cypriot companies that wish to do business with the United States, through our “Business Service Providers” (BSP) program.  Please view our BSP program (https://cy.usembassy.gov/business/bsp/) online. 

Area Administered by Turkish Cypriots:

Companies or individuals interested in doing business in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots are advised to engage a local businessperson or entity.  For information on how to get in touch with prospective agents or distributors, please contact the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (TCCC). The TCCC at has a list of members with their respective line of business and contact information.

Establishing an Office

Republic of Cyprus:

To establish a company in Cyprus, please follow the instructions provided in the One-Stop-Shop / Point of Single Contact (OSS/PSC) website.  The OSS/PSC operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Energy, Commerce, and Industry.  (Note: Prior to registering your company name, please search through company names already registered in Cyprus).

The Department of the Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver allows the following forms of legal entities to be registered: Company (Private or Public), Branch Company, General or Limited Partnership, European Company, and Business Name.  More information on Legal Forms of Entities and Incorporation Fees are available here.   

Non-EU residents seeking to establish a company in the ROC must obtain a residence and employment permit from the Ministry of Interior Civil Registry and Migration Department.  The procedure and regulations for obtaining a work permit for non-EU nationals can be found at the Department of Labor website.

Additional information required for certain sectors and business streams is available in a searchable index of procedures on the PSC Cyprus Portal.

Area Administered by Turkish Cypriots:

Foreign and domestic entities, and natural persons are allowed to establish a business in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots.  Companies must first apply to the “Company Registry Office” to secure approval for the company name and then submit all required documents to the “Registrar of Companies Office.”  For more detailed information, please contact the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce.

Franchising

Republic of Cyprus:

U.S. franchises, particularly in the food and beverage sector, continue to be highly sought after and successful in Cyprus.  U.S. franchise companies present in Cyprus include but are not limited to:  McDonalds, Burger King, Starbucks, Coffee Beanery, Arabica Coffee, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s Pizza, Domino’s Pizza, KFC, Bennigan’s, TGI Friday’s, Hard Rock Café, Curves, Cinnabon, Cold Stone Creamery, Taco Bell, and Popcorn Girl Las Vegas.  Smoothie Factory is the latest U.S. brand to open in the ROC.  Besides the U.S. franchises on the island, there are many international franchise brands including Folli Follie, Accessorize, Costa Coffee, Second Cup, Ocean Basket, and Wagamama.  Cypriots are brand-conscious shoppers, and consumer spending had picked up again after taking a dip during the 2013 financial crisis. COVID-19 economic conditions have influenced spending in the ROC, but the Food and Beverage sectors are less affected.

U.S. companies interested in more information about franchise opportunities in Cyprus should contact the Embassy Political/Economic Section at:  +357-22-393362 or email.

Area Administered by Turkish Cypriots:

Foreign tourists (mainly from Turkey, Europe, and Middle Eastern countries), university students, and brand-conscious local consumers demand recognizable goods imported from abroad.  Foreign franchises include Johnny Rockets, GNC Nutrition, Gloria Jean’s Coffees, Domino’s Pizza, Popeye’s, and Sbarro.

Direct Marketing

Republic of Cyprus:

Direct Marketing is a growth industry for the ROC, especially now with extensive use of social media.  Companies approach specific target customers through emails, phone messages, and their social media pages.

Joint Ventures/Licensing

Republic of Cyprus:

Establishing a joint venture has become increasingly common in Cyprus.  Four standard formulas for joint ventures are commonly used: a corporate joint venture regulated under the Companies Law, a contractual joint venture, a partnership joint venture regulated under the Partnership Law, and European economic interest groups.  In the case of most large government tenders or projects, local companies will seek to partner with foreign companies to prepare and submit bid proposals.  Local firms seek partnerships to leverage economies of scale and technical know-how.  Foreign partners benefit from having local expertise and established bona fides.

Area Administered by Turkish Cypriots:

Establishing a joint venture is well regarded and welcomed in the area administrated by Turkish Cypriots.  Foreign companies interested in participating in a “public” tender in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots are required to engage a local partner.  Alternatively, a foreign company can obtain domestic status by establishing a local company.  For large “public” tenders, local companies should pair with foreign companies to submit bid proposals.

Express Delivery

UPS, FedEx, and DHL and other express delivery firms operate in the ROC and are widely used by companies for business purposes.

Due Diligence

If a U.S. company has already selected a partner, it is advisable to perform appropriate due diligence on its business partners and agents before finalizing and signing contracts, regardless of the sector of engagement.  The Embassy Political/Economic office can help prepare a due diligence report on the prospective partner through the International Company Profile (ICP) service (https://cy.usembassy.gov/business/services-u-s-companies/).