BHD (Berhad)

DEFINITION of 'BHD (Berhad)'

BHD is a suffix identifying a public limited company in Malaysia. Berhad or BHD or Bhd after a company’s name indicates that it is a Malaysian public limited company (PLC), while the suffix “Sendirian Berhad” or SDN BHD denotes that it is a private limited company.

Both BHD and SDN BHD companies are classified as companies limited by shares, the most common type of business entity in Malaysia. Such companies have a limited number of shares, and the liability of their shareholders is restricted to the amount specified on their unpaid shares. Other types of companies in Malaysia are companies limited by guarantee (such as non-profit organizations and public societies) and unlimited companies


A BHD company has to have minimum two shareholders, while the maximum number is unlimited; a SDN BHD company can have a minimum of two shareholders and a maximum of 50.

As is the case worldwide, SDN BHD companies are typically small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) while BHD companies are the largest ones in Malaysia. BHD companies have higher financial reporting standards than SDN BHD companies since they have to disclose their financial statements to the public. BHD firms also have much better access to capital than SDN BHD companies, as they can tap into the public equity and debt markets when they are in need of funding. 

While the process of incorporation for both types of companies is substantially similar, a SDN BHD company has some stringent stipulations in its Articles of Association. These include – restrictions on transfers of the company’s shares; limit on number of shareholders set at 50; public prohibited from subscribing to the company’s shares or debentures; and prohibition on collecting public deposits.

Although most BHD companies list their shares and trade on a stock exchange, this is not a mandatory requirement. A BHD company can choose to stay unlisted if it chooses to do so.

In May 2017, the Forbes Global 2000 list included 14 Malaysian BHD companies. According to the Forbes ranking – which is based on a combination of four metrics: sales, profits, assets and market value – these are among the largest companies in Malaysia:

  1. Malayan Banking Bhd
  2. Tenaga Nasional Bhd
  3. Public Bank Bhd
  4. CIMB Group Holdings Bhd
  5. Sime Darby Bhd
  6. Genting Bhd
  7. Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd
  8. RHB Bank Bhd
  9.  Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd
  10. Axiata Group Bhd
  11. MISC Bhd
  12. Maxis Bhd
  13. AmBank Group
  14. Petronas Gas Bhd