Milaha board approves up to 100% non-Qatari ownership

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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Milaha, formerly known as Qatar Navigation, has recommended up to 100 percent foreign ownership, as the cabinet approved a draft law to allow foreign investors to fully own listed companies.

Early this month, Qatar had allowed up to 100 percent foreign ownership limit (FOL) in the listed companies from the current limit of 49 percent, a move that would help to substantially boost liquidity and trading in the market.

“The board of directors approves the amendment of the Articles of Association to increase the percentage of non-Qatari ownership from 49 percent to 100 percent subject to the approval of the concerned official authorities and the company’s extraordinary general assembly and according to the necessary procedures in this regard,” Milaha said in a regulatory filing with the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE).

The Doha-based shipping and logistics group is the second Qatari listed company to approve 100 percent foreign ownership limit, following the government’s approval to raise the limit, according to QSE chief executive Rashid bin Ali al-Mansoori.

Qatar is the first country to have 100 percent FOL for all listed firms. It is expected that after implementing this the weight of the companies in the emerging market indices (MSCI and FTSE) would increase as the indices calculate the weight of each company based on percentage ownership available to investors (local, regional and international).

“The decision to raise the percentage of foreign ownership in the shares of Qatari companies will positively affect the liquidity and trading in the market,” Mr. al-Mansoori said.

The draft law, approved by the cabinet, includes the amendment of Article (7) of the law so that non-Qatari investors can own up to 100 percent of the capital of Qatari shareholding companies listed on the QSE.

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