Discusses distribution network from how products enter to final destination, including reliability of distribution systems, distribution centers, ports, etc.
Goods are distributed through the standard channels of importers, wholesalers, retailers, and supermarkets. Mauritius has a wide range of retail outlets, ranging from high-end shopping centers to family-run corner stores. Distribution of goods is relatively uncomplicated once goods arrive on the island given Mauritius’s size: 42 miles north to south, 28 miles east to west. A four-lane motorway links the airport in the extreme southeast with the capital and principal seaport, Port Louis, on the west coast, before terminating in the extreme north at Grand Baie. Port Louis has a permanent population of approximately 139,000, but it is the island’s business and commercial center. Ebene, a district just south of Port Louis along the four-lane motorway, has developed over the past decade into a major business center where a number of global financial institutions have set up regional headquarters. There are four other major towns, stretching southeast from Port Louis along the main motorway to the airport and the majority of the country’s population lives in this urban area.
Local agents and distributors represent a wide range of products or companies in Mauritius. For products that require servicing, qualified personnel and a reasonable supply of parts are essential. The Embassy can help U.S. firms identify an agent or distributor through our International Partner Search or Gold Key Service. Interested parties must apply through the U.S. Commercial Service at the American Consulate in Johannesburg, South Africa. For additional information, please visit the U.S. embassy website or the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration website.
To access Mauritius’ ICS, visit the U.S. Department of State Investment Climate Statement website.
Establishing an Office
American firms wishing to establish a presence in Mauritius have several options to do so. They can establish a branch of the parent company, or incorporate as a domestic company. A company incorporated in Mauritius can be 100 percent foreign-owned with no minimum capital requirement. The 2017 Business Facilitation Act allows businesses to incorporate a company and register a business with the Corporate Business Registration Department in less than two hours and to start operations in less than one day. The application for incorporation and registration is available at the Corporate and Business Registration Department. Foreign companies typically organize as a private limited company. After obtaining a certificate of incorporation, foreign companies must register with the Economic Development Board (EDB), the government’s business facilitation and investment promotion agency. The EDB can also assist with occupation permits (work and residence permits combined) and offers other services to investors. For more information, refer to the Investment Climate Statement.
Franchising in Mauritius is predominantly, but not exclusively, in the fast food sector. U.S. franchises such as KFC, Pizza Hut, and McDonald’s have been operating in Mauritius for several years, alongside South African franchises such as Nando’s, Steers, Debonair Pizza, Spur, and Ocean Basket. Coca-Cola and Pepsi products are produced locally by Phoenix Beverages and Quality Beverages, respectively. New U.S. franchises that have established operations in Mauritius include Burger King, Subway, and Domino’s. Many of the resorts and hotels present in Mauritius, such as Holiday Inn, Hilton, Marriott International, and Intercontinental, also operate under franchise agreements.
Direct marketing is limited to a few products. Some companies sell cosmetic, health, and house cleaning products directly to consumers through visits to households or offices. Overseas shopping by mail order and internet is increasingly used by the younger generation and expatriates but is not popular due to the small size of the island and the high cost of shipping goods internationally.
Joint ventures are used mostly for construction and engineering projects and management of shopping malls. Foreign architects must enter into a joint venture with a Mauritian architect or firm to work on local projects. All contractors and consultants, whether local or foreign, must register with the Construction Industry Development Board to be able to offer construction services in Mauritius. Local companies manufacture a number of products under license, ranging from beverages to toiletries. The foreign and local firm must negotiate the licensing agreements and royalty arrangements.
A number of service providers, including DHL, FedEx, and UPS, provide international express delivery services. The Mauritius Post, in which the government is a majority shareholder, also provides international express courier services. Additionally, following the COVID-19 pandemic, a growing number of local companies have started operating delivery services.
The online database of the Corporate and Business Registration Department (https://onlinesearch.mns.mu) provides basic information on companies. The U.S. Commercial Service offers the International Company Profile service to U.S. firms seeking a background report on existing or potential partners. Local law firms also provide due diligence services.