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Thu 30 Aug 2007 12:48 AM

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UAE family firms to keep 70% in IPOs

Family-owned businesses converting to public companies will now be allowed to retain up to 70% of stock.

A change in UAE commercial companies law means families will be able to retain up to 70% of their companies when they sell shares in initial public offerings.

Previously, family-owned businesses converting to public companies had to sell at least 55% of their stock.

UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan approved a legal amendment yesterday which allows families to list a minimum stake of 30%, state news agency WAM reported.

The UAE government wants to encourage family owned businesses to list their shares on the country's exchanges, which are dominated by banking and real estate firms.

Some of the UAE's largest unlisted businesses, such as Dubai's al-Futtaim Group, are family owned.