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Wed 11 Jan 2017 02:13 PM

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Dubai's Jafza says to allow more flexibility to free zone firms

New regulations set to streamline all mandatory legalities, says DP World chairman

Dubai's Jafza says to allow more flexibility to free zone firms

Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) on Tuesday issued new regulations to allow foreign companies to transfer and continue operations in the free zone without the need to open a branch or establish a new company.

The DP World-owned company said it merged all the legal entities such as the free zone establishment (FZE), free zone company (FZCO) and branches under one regulation and has introduced a new legal definition such as public listed companies (PLC).

Companies can restructure and rearrange their operations by converting from an FZE, or FZCO, to a PLC and vice-versa, allowing continuity of businesses in the free zone.

Foreign companies will also be able to transfer to the free zone keeping intact all their commitments which will attract international businesses to Jafza, it said in a statement.

Under the new regulations, the current FZE and FZCO type of entities can list their company on the stock exchange by establishing a PLC. The relevant markets laws in the UAE apply will, it added.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, group chairman and chief executive officer, DP World, said: “The new regulations streamline all the mandatory legalities related to the registration, administration, legal benefits and obligations of organisations in the free zone. These changes reflect the needs of an ever evolving market in terms of providing facilities that are prompt, secure and form the best international practice.”

Another amendment allows businesses to be set-up with capital “sufficient” for the activities applied for in place of the existing regulation that mandates a minimum amount of capital.

Meanwhile, the number of shareholders in a FZCO will now be set at a minimum of two and a maximum of 50. The concept of different classes of shares provides flexibility to owners to offer different voting rights to shares, Jafza said.

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