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Tue 23 Mar 2010 01:29 PM

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UAE company law won't permit 100% foreign ownership

Abu Dhabi plans to form special agency to attract foreign investment - official.

UAE company law won't permit 100% foreign ownership
FOREIGN INVESTMENT: New investment agency will begin operations by the end of 2010. (Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

The UAE's new companies law, which is expected to come out in 2010, will relax foreign ownership restrictions but will stop short of allowing 100 percent ownership, an Abu Dhabi government official said on Tuesday. Mohammed Omar Abdulla, undersecretary of Abu Dhabi's department of economic development, made the remarks at a panel discussion.

"The new companies law in the UAE will make a relaxation in foreign ownership," he said. "It will not be up to 100 percent, it will be more than 49 percent."

Abdullah added that Abu Dhabi plans to set up a dedicated investment agency to attract foreign investment.

"In line with our five-year strategic plan, the department is working towards setting up a dedicated investment agency to serve the needs of international investors," said Abdullah .

The new agency will begin operations by the end of 2010 and will identify areas of opportunities to attract foreign investments, he added.

"International investors have a crucial role to play bringing in expertise, technology and best global practices," he told the conference.

Abdullah also said the Ministry of Economy was preparing the final draft of a new UAE companies law which will come out this year. The law will relax foreign ownership rules but stops short of allowing 100 percent ownership, he said. (Reuters)

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Vicky Maly 10 years ago

If the economic outlook of various Emirates of UAE has to move to the next level, investment policies will have to be liberalized. Until now the growth has largely been achieved on the back of foreign investors who have a very frail legal framework to guard their interests. With economies floundering and risk appetite waning, I wonder how many investors would take risks to up their stakes if the Govt continues to remain in the old mold and maintain monopolies. If the past growth has to be sustained and new levels have to be reached, few bold decisions will have to be taken. Economies all over the world are innovating and re-inventing to attract the limited investor dollars and I hate to think that we are letting the opportunity pass by just because of our misguided tendency to overprotect ourselves.