Qatar seeks to increase foreign investment

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The Qatari Financial Sector is making an increased effort to attract Foreign Direct Investment within the State of Qatar.

Qatar Ooredoo
Qatar is moving to provide FDI opportunities for foreign investors. Companies like the state telecom provider, Ooredoo have actually exceeded their percentage with a Foreign Ownership Limit of 100%. Photo: Ooredoo

According to  H.E Yousef Hussain Kamal, Minister of Economy and Finance and Chairman of the Financial Markets Development Committee, this is being achieved by encouraging several listed companies to increase the maximum ownership percentage allocated for non-Qataris.

Currently the Foreign Ownership Limit (FOL) of several large listed companies is at or close to 25 percent of their market capitalization.

There are several companies within the State of Qatar which have implemented this critical change across their organization. Some of the examples are quoted below:

  • Doha Bank recently changed their FOL to 25% of the market capitalization in accordance with an amendment on the Bank’s articles of association
  • Ooredoo and Vodafone have actually exceeded their percentage with an FOL of 100%
  • Exceeding the FOL as well, the maximum foreign ownership limit in Masraf Al Rayan is now set at 49%

In addition, some of the companies listed on the Qatar Exchange, including the Commercial Bank of Qatar and the Qatar Islamic Bank have welcomed the change. Responding positively, these companies have requested Qatar Exchange to increase the number of their shares available to foreign investors to 25 percent to their total market capitalization.

Highlighting these examples, H.E Yousef Hussain Kamal said;

“Some other companies have expressed their willingness to amend the current FOL set at 25 percent of their free float shares to 25 percent of their full capital.”

Confirming the importance of this move in assisting the Qatar Exchange in being an attractive market not just for its domestic audience but for its international investors as well, H.E the Minister said;

“The increase in the number of shares available to foreign investors significantly opens up the market in Qatar. His affirms the commitment of the government to transform Qatar into a regional investment hub.”

It is expected that these changes will be implemented over the next 6 to 9 months after companies successfully modify their articles of association.

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