What Is BHD (Berhad)?

What Is BHD (Berhad)?

3 Min.

In Malaysia, the term Berhad (BHD) is used to indicate a public limited company, while the suffix Sendirian Berhad (SDN BHD) denotes a private limited company. Typically, SDN BHD companies are smaller or mid-sized enterprises, while BHD companies are the largest ones in Malaysia. Due to their obligation to disclose their financial statements to the public, BHD companies abide by stricter financial reporting standards than SDN BHD companies. While most BHD companies choose to list their shares and trade on the stock market, they can remain unlisted.


In Malaysia, the suffix BHD is employed as an identifier for public limited companies, while the abbreviation Berhad, BHD, or Bhd appended to a company's name signifies its status as a Malaysian PLC. Conversely, the extended suffix SDN BHD signifies the company's classification as a private limited company.

Share Issuance in Malaysian Business Entities

In Malaysia, BHD and SDN BHD firms fall under the category of share-issuing companies, the predominant business structure. These entities possess a finite quantity of shares, and shareholders are only liable for the value of their outstanding shares. Conversely, there exist alternative business forms in Malaysia, including guarantee-limited entities like nonprofit organizations, public societies, and unlimited liability corporations (ULCs).

BHD vs. SDN BHD Companies

In the realm of corporate structures in Malaysia, BHD firms, marked by flexibility in shareholder numbers, generally constitute the largest corporations. They are obligated to adhere to rigorous financial reporting standards due to their public financial disclosure requirements. Moreover, BHD entities enjoy enhanced access to diverse capital sources, including public equity and debt financing.

Conversely, SDN BHD companies are typically smaller to midsize enterprises (SMEs) and face certain restrictions outlined in their Articles of Association. These restrictions pertain to share transfers, a shareholder limit of 50, a prohibition on public share or debenture subscriptions, and the collection of public deposits.

While many BHD companies opt for listing on stock markets, this remains optional, allowing them to remain unlisted if they choose to do so.

Forbes Global 2000: Top Malaysian Companies in 2018

In the 2023 Forbes Global 2000 ranking, 8 Malaysian BHD companies were featured. The list, which assesses companies based on a composite of sales, profits, assets, and market value, showcased the following notable Malaysian corporations:

  1. Maybank Bhd (#472)
  2. Public Bank Bhd (#740)
  3. Tenaga Nasional Bhd (#759)
  4. CIMB Group Holdings Bhd (#770)
  5. Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd (#1275)
  6. RHB Bank Bhd (#1433)
  7. Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd (#1449)
  8. AirAsia X Bhd (#1463)


Malaysia's business landscape includes BHD and SDN BHD companies, distinguishing between public and private entities. BHD firms are larger, following strict financial reporting and accessing diverse capital sources. SDN BHD companies have limitations on share transfers, shareholders, and public subscriptions. While BHD companies often list shares, it's not mandatory.

BHD (Berhad)
Public Limited Company (PLC)
Sendirian Berhad (SDN BHD)
Private Limited Company
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