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Mon 24 Feb 2014 01:50 PM

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Qatar's Al Khaliji lifts foreign ownership cap to 49%

Bank's shareholders approve move to allow more foreigners to invest

Qatar's Al Khaliji lifts foreign ownership cap to 49%
Qatar stock exchange, Qataris

Qatar's Al Khaliji Commercial Bank said on Monday its shareholders had approved increasing the limit on the amount of stock foreigners can own in the lender to 49 percent. It cited Qatar's upcoming upgrade by MSCI for the change.

The motion was agreed at the bank's annual general meeting on Sunday, the statement said. The previous limit was 25 percent; only 16.18 percent of the firm is currently held by non-Qatari investors, according to bourse data.

"This change allows the bank to open up to international investors and increase the liquidity of the bank's shares," the bank said in a statement.

MSCI will upgarde Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to emerging market status in May; before then, it will choose individual stocks from those countries for inclusion in its emerging market indexes.

Al Khaliji said on Monday that it had raised its foreign ownership limit after reviewing criteria for inclusion.

Earlier on Monday, Dubai's Union Properties said it was increasing its cap to 25 percent from an unspecified previous level.

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