Navigating Economic Challenges


In an era of unprecedented economic uncertainty and ever-shifting global dynamics, Middle East businesses are seeking innovative strategies to secure their growth and insulate themselves against the perils of economic downturns. The region, historically known for its rich natural resources and flourishing markets, is evolving at a remarkable pace. As Middle East businesses expand beyond their borders, they face multifaceted challenges and opportunities on their quest for sustainable growth in diverse markets.

The key to achieving these objectives lies in the art of corporate restructuring, a strategic reconfiguration that can unlock new possibilities, streamline operations, and ensure resilience in times of economic turbulence. Corporate restructuring is not a novel concept, but in today's dynamic business landscape, its significance has grown exponentially.

The Middle East, with its unique blend of traditional commerce and cutting-edge technology, offers a promising platform for businesses that dare to venture into new markets and diversify their portfolios. However, the path to expansion is laden with challenges. To navigate this terrain effectively, businesses must embrace corporate restructuring as a versatile tool that allows them to enhance their competitive edge, fortify their financial foundations, and remain agile in the face of economic headwinds.

In this article, we will delve into the various aspects of corporate restructuring tailored to Middle East businesses. We will examine the strategies, tactics, and best practices employed by successful companies in the region to expand their presence internationally and shield themselves from economic uncertainties. From mergers and acquisitions to diversification and strategic partnerships, the Middle East is witnessing a transformation that holds great promise for visionary businesses.

Corporate Restructuring – Rearranging the Puzzle

Corporate restructuring is simply a way that companies make significant changes to their organization to improve their performance or adapt to new circumstances. It's like rearranging the pieces of a puzzle to make it fit and work better.

Improving performance is not just related to increasing revenue (though we all agree this is essential) it could also mean increasing efficiency whilst reducing cost.

Benefits of Corporate Restructuring

1.           Enhanced Efficiency

One of the primary benefits of corporate restructuring is the potential for improved efficiency. By streamlining processes, eliminating redundancies, and reallocating resources, companies can reduce operational costs and enhance productivity. This improved efficiency can lead to higher profitability, which is particularly crucial in today's highly competitive business landscape. There are plenty of examples on how this can be undertaken but a simple one would be to centralise you back-office operations at your lowest cost centre whilst expanding.

2.           Get rid of the Baggage

Through restructuring, organizations can refocus their efforts on their core competencies. This involves divesting non-core assets or businesses that may be dragging down performance. By concentrating on what they do best, companies can better serve their customers, innovate, and stay ahead of the competition. If a product or service is not core and is not profitable then it maybe time to get rid of it and concentrate on improving the core.  

3.           Market Expansion

Mergers and acquisitions are common forms of corporate restructuring that can help companies expand their market presence. By combining resources and expertise with another organization, a company can tap into new markets, diversify its product or service offerings, and reach a broader customer base. This expansion can be particularly advantageous in today's globalized economy.

However, companies can expand into different markets on their own. In today’s global market it is very easy to set up companies in UAE, UK, USA and KSA. Most can be done online and/or through a trusted agent or law firm.

4.           Access to Capital

Restructuring can provide access to much-needed capital. Companies that sell non-core assets or businesses can use the proceeds to invest in their core operations or pay down debt. This access to capital can fuel growth and help businesses weather economic downturns.

5.            Risk Mitigation

Diversification, often achieved through corporate restructuring, can help mitigate risk. When a company is too heavily dependent on a single product, service, or market, it is vulnerable to economic fluctuations. By diversifying, businesses can spread risk and become more resilient to market volatility.

6.           Tax Efficiency

Corporate restructuring can result in tax advantages for businesses. Careful planning and execution can minimize tax liabilities and increase after-tax profits, allowing organizations to allocate resources more efficiently.

7.           Synergy Realization

In mergers and acquisitions, synergy is a key driver of corporate restructuring. Synergy occurs when the combined entity achieves more significant benefits than the sum of its individual parts. This can include cost savings, improved operational efficiency, and enhanced revenue generation. Realizing synergy can lead to substantial financial gains for the newly merged company.


Corporate layering is a strategic organizational structure used by businesses to manage complexity, hierarchy, and decision-making, it has become a fundamental aspect of modern corporate governance and corporate restructuring.  
There are various options when is comes to layering that it can often be confusing. The rule of thumb is to create the top layer and bottom layer whilst leaving the middle layer to grow organically. 

Top Layer

When considering your top layer or Holding Company (“HC”) you need to consider the following aspects when choosing the jurisdiction in which you will incorporate; it should be cost efficient, has good tax efficiency rates, bilateral treaties with the jurisdictions you operate in and ease of bank account opening. It should be noted that HC companies should not have operating activities in the jurisdiction where they are established. Their purpose is to hold assets, shareholders, investors and senior management. 

Bottom Layer

These are operating and trading companies and should be established in the countries you wish to do business in. Normally a simple limited liability company will be effective allowing you to enter the market cost effectively. 

Middle Layer

Some regard this as unnecessary or too complex, however it can be very useful depending on your industry, company size and growth appetite. The middle layer can be a regional holding company (covering a certain geography of the business) or it can be product/services specific. It allows greater flexibility in growth and normally has high tax efficiency through transfer pricing.


Jurisdictions for the top layer or HC vary widely in terms of costs, regulations, and other factors. The choice of a jurisdiction depends on the specific needs and goals of the business. Here's a general comparison of some popular offshore jurisdictions and their associated costs:


Cayman Islands:

•The Cayman Islands are known for their stability and tax-friendly environment.

•Incorporation costs can be relatively high, with government fees and legal expenses.

•Ongoing maintenance costs include annual government fees and registered agent fees.

•No direct corporate income tax, capital gains tax, or estate taxes.

British Virgin Islands (BVI):

•BVI is a popular choice for offshore companies due to its flexible regulations.

•Incorporation costs are moderate, and annual fees are reasonable.

•No corporate income tax, capital gains tax, or inheritance tax.



•Panama is known for its offshore companies and foundations.

•Incorporation costs are reasonable, and annual fees are low.

•No tax on offshore profits, capital gains, or inheritance.




•While not considered a traditional offshore jurisdiction, Singapore is a popular choice for international businesses.

•Incorporation and maintenance costs are higher compared to some traditional offshore jurisdictions.

•Corporate income tax is competitive, but there may be withholding taxes on certain payments.



•Switzerland offers financial privacy and a stable banking system.

•Incorporation and maintenance costs can be high.

•Corporate income tax is relatively low, but there is a withholding tax on dividends.


Jersey (Channel Islands):

•Jersey is a reputable offshore jurisdiction with strong financial services.

•Incorporation and maintenance costs are moderate.

•No corporate income tax, capital gains tax, or inheritance tax.


Delaware (US):

•Delaware is cheap and easy to set up company.

•However, certain taxes shall be imposed on the company, such as 21% Corporate Income tax on profit not revenue, 30% withholding tax, federal income tax return, and Franchise taxs.

•The corporate laws are well-established and widely recognized.


London (UK):

•London is easy and cheap to set up a company.

•The UK offers various tax incentives and benefits to holding companies, including participation exemption and double taxation relief, making it advantageous for those with overseas subsidiaries.

•A UK holding company may be more easily recognized and respected in international business transactions, which can be advantageous when dealing with global partners and investors.


Corporate restructuring is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and its success depends on careful planning and execution. However, when strategically developed with a clear understanding of the objectives, it can provide numerous benefits for businesses. These benefits range from improved efficiency and financial gains to market expansion, risk mitigation, and better strategic alignment. In a rapidly changing business landscape, corporate restructuring can be a valuable tool for organizations looking to secure their long-term success and competitiveness.

Levari international law firm is an expert in corporate structuring and restructuring with over a decade experience in advising global companies and family businesses to expand and hedge.

Should you wish to have more information, or a consultation please do not hesitate to contact us on



This article was written by Sherif Hefni, BA, GDL, BVC - Co-Founder and Senior Partner of Levari

Mr. Hefni holds a BA (hons) in Business & Psychology from the University of Northampton (UK), a GDL in Law from Oxford Brooks University (UK), and the BVC from City Law School University of London (UK). Mr. Hefni is a member of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, member of the Charted Institute of Arbitrators and a member of the Institute of Directors, UK.

Mr. Hefni is the founder and Senior Partner of Levari International law firm with over 20 years of advising businesses globally.

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