While incorporating a partnership for Thai nationals is considered very simple to do and invlove very few restrictions, partnerships for foreigners are restricted by the Foreign Business Act.
Generally, a partnership is established through an agreement made by potential partners. All prospective partners agree to invest in the establishment of a partnership prior to the commencement of a certain activity; in some cases a partner can join an already existing partnership (it can be done by either entering as a new partner or buying shares from one of the actual partners).
Terms shall be clearly specified (orally or in writing); nevertheless, in some cases a partnership is based on relations between partners. Although it is not necessary to make an establishment agreement in writing, partnerships which are created to perform big projects and require substantial investments (or involve activities that require documentary evidence), normally choose to execute a written agreement to avoid disputes in future.
In Thailand, the term "ordinary partnership" means that two or more persons agree to unite their capitals to carry on activities together, with the purpose of sharing the net income derived from such activities. All partners are jointly and unlimitedly liable for the obligations of such partnership. Ordinary partnerships are considered to be a kind of contract; therefore, they are not required by law to be registered. A partnership can be incorporated by merely making an agreement between the partners without any formal registration. Nonetheless, ordinary partnerships can be registered if the partners so choose. Once the partnership is registered, it is considered as a juristic person under the law of Thailand.
Dissolution of this type of partnership shall include management of its property and liabilities. As all partners invest capital and unite assets while establishing a partnership, it is quite possible that some partners advance their money during the process of carrying on activities or use part of the partnership's capital. Thus, such partnership may be a creditor or a debtor in its relations with third parties. When dissolving a partnership, debts shall be settled and assets distributed; profits or losses shall be distributed as well. Apart from this, dissolution of a partnership includes termination of certain agreements.
Liquidation means that all the assets of the partnership are brought together in order to pay off debts and repay shares' value to the partners. The rest of money (if any) is considered as income and distributed between the partners. If the assets do not cover all the existing debts, or there is not enough money to repay the shares' value, the partners shall take responsibility for losses accordingly.
In most cases involving unregistered ordinary partnerships, partners carry out a small business; there are only a few partners, as well as just a few assets, if any, and, generally, there are no debts to third parties. Thus, there is no need to perform liquidation. Partners usually find ways to agree on to how to liquidate assets and pay off debts.
Though registration of an ordinary partnership is not strictly prescribed by the law, it can still be registered. The registration process is the same as the one prescribed for limited partnerships and limited companies. The provisions of Sections 1014 - 1024 of the Civil and Commercial Code are applicable for registered partnerships. In accordance with Section 1014, the Minister of Commerce is presently responsible for the registration of partnerships and companies and issues rules governing establishment of these entities. In Bangkok, registration can be performed at the Central Business Registration Office, while in other provinces there are local registration offices.
In accordance with the provisions of the Civil and Commercial Code, the registration process prescribed for partnerships and companies is as follows:
There are two types of partnerships in Thailand, ordinary and limited. According to the Thailand Civil and Commercial Code, a partnership is "A contract whereby two or more persons agree to unite for a common undertaking, with a view of sharing the profits which may be derived there from."
Limited Partnerships in Thailand exist where there are one or more partners whose liability is limited to such amount as they may respectively undertake to contribute to the partnership, as well as one or more partners who are jointly and unlimitedly liable for all the obligations of the partnership.
Limited partnerships in Thailand are required to be registered and are considered to be legal entities. Only an unlimited partner is able to act as a managing partner. Therefore, if a partner whose liability is limited interferes with the business, they will become an unlimited partner, and so will their liability shift to unlimited.
Liquidation of a limited partnership is a bit complex and requires use of services of a lawyer specializing in limited partnerships. Section V, subsections Section 1247 to 1274 cover most of the requirements. Here is a quote: "The liquidation of a bankrupt registered partnership, or limited partnership shall be made, as far as practicable, in accordance with the provisions of the Thai Law of Bankruptcy".
The process of registration of a limited partnership is very similar to the process required to register an ordinary partnership:
Upon familiarising themselves with the Foreign Business Act, foreigners who wish to operate in any kind of partnership soon find out that their participation is restricted. If a foreigner invests more than half of the overall investment or names themselves a managing partner, the Foreign Business License law shall be applied. Therefore, to avoid the Foreign Business License, foreigners should not invest more than a half and should not act as a managing partner in a partnership. THUS, as a foreigner cannot act as a managing partner, it is less likely that they can protect their interests. Therefore, Juslaws & Consult strongly recommends that foreigners should stay away from all types of partnerships.