Qatar’s emir has issued a law providing for foreign investors to own up to 49% of listed Qatari companies, part of reforms to expand the stock market and develop the financial industry, Reuters has reported. “The law stipulates that non-Qatari investors are allowed to own no more than 49% of the shares of Qatari shareholding companies listed on Qatar Exchange,” the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) said. Originally announced in late May, the law also lets foreigners own more than 49% of a firm in special cases if they obtain approval from the Qatari cabinet. In another market-opening step, citizens of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council will be treated as Qatari citizens for the purpose of owning firms listed on the Qatar Exchange. This will provide more room for non-GCC foreigners to own shares. Currently, listed Qatari firms impose ceilings on combined foreign ownership that are usually no more than 25%, though some have already raised their ceilings above that level.
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