Country Listing

Nepal Table of Contents


Private Industry

The history of incorporated private firms in Nepal is short. The Nepal Companies Act of 1936 provided for the incorporation of industrial enterprises on joint stock principle with limited liability. The first such firm, Biratnagar Jute Mills, was a collaborative venture of Indian and Nepalese entrepreneurs. It was formed in 1936 with initial capital of 160,000 Indian rupees.

In response to shortages of some consumer goods during World War II (1939-45), fourteen private companies emerged in such diverse fields as mining, electrical generation, and paper and soap production. The initial capital invested in each of these industries was small. In 1942 two paper mills emerged as joint ventures of Nepalese and Indian entrepreneurs. Industrial growth gained momentum after 1945, although the end of World War II had reduced the scarcity of goods and caused many of these companies to incur losses.

Under the Nepal Companies Act, there was no provision for private limited companies. In 1951, however, a new act was implemented with provisions for private limited companies. This act encouraged the establishment of ninety-two new private joint stock companies between 1952 and 1964. Most of these companies were much smaller than existing companies. Under the provisions of the 1951 act, public disclosure of the activities of the firms was not required, whereas the 1936 act allowed substantial government intervention. The Industrial Enterprises Act of 1974 and its frequent amendments shifted the government's emphasis on growth from the public to the private sector. However, discrepancies between policy and practice were evident, and the public sector continued to be favored.

Data as of September 1991