Saudi Arabia to allow foreigners to own up to 49% of listed stocks

The Saudi stock exchange, known as the Tadawul, is set to be home to part of the world’s biggest initial public offering. (Reuters)
Updated 09 January 2018
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Saudi Arabia to allow foreigners to own up to 49% of listed stocks

LONDON: Foreign investors will be allowed to own up to 49 percent of shares on the Saudi stock market, according to a document published by the local regulator.

The Capital Market Authority (CMA) said that a single qualified foreign investor (QFI) would be allowed to hold as much as 10 percent of shares in a company or debt instrument.

In aggregate, foreign investors will be allowed to hold up to 49 percent of shares or debt, according to the CMA document.

Each QFI “may not own 10 percent or more of the shares of any issuer whose shares are listed or convertible debt instrument of the issuer,” the CMA said.

The CMA said in May 2016 it would raise the limit on how much of a single company can be owned by a single QFI to 10 percent from 5 percent.

“The maximum proportion of the shares of any issuer whose shares are listed or convertible debt instrument of the issuer that may be owned by all foreign investors (in all categories, whether residents or non-residents) in aggregate is 49 percent,” it said in a statement published Tuesday.

With the exception of government and government-related entities, applicants must have assets under management or custody of SR1.875 billion ($500 million), the CMA said.

The move comes as the Kingdom looks to open up its market to more foreign investment.

The Saudi stock exchange, known as the Tadawul, is set to be home to part of the world’s biggest initial public offering should plans to list part of Saudi Aramco go ahead.


EU gives Nestle a thumbs down in Kit Kat finger row

Updated 19 April 2018
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EU gives Nestle a thumbs down in Kit Kat finger row

  • Nestle has been locked in a decade-long battle with US rival Mondelez, maker of Cadbury chocolate, over the four-fingered wafer biscuit, which was first sold in 1935.
  • The EU’s intellectual property office allowed Nestle in 2006 to trademark what the court calls the “three-dimensional shape of the ‘Kit Kat 4 fingers’ product.”

Luxembourg: The European Union’s top court should cancel Swiss food giant Nestle’s trademark for the shape of the Kit Kat chocolate bar, the court’s top adviser said Thursday.
Nestle has been locked in a decade-long battle with US rival Mondelez, maker of Cadbury chocolate, over the four-fingered wafer biscuit, which was first sold in 1935.
The EU’s intellectual property office allowed Nestle in 2006 to trademark what the court calls the “three-dimensional shape of the ‘Kit Kat 4 fingers’ product.”
Advocate General Melchior Wathelet said the European Court of Justice (ECJ) should dismiss an appeal by Nestle against a lower court’s 2016 decision to annul the trademark.
“Nestle did not adduce sufficient evidence to show that its trademark had acquired distinctive character,” Wathelet said.
He said the intellectual property office should now “re-examine” its decision.
The Luxembourg-based ECJ often, but not always, follows the advice of the advocate general, its senior legal adviser, when making its final judgment.
The food giant specifically failed to show that the Kit Kat shape was well enough known in Belgium, Ireland, Greece, Luxembourg and Portugal, relying instead on market data from other countries, he said.
The official also said the EU court should reject an appeal by Mondelez against part of the judgment, saying it was “manifestly inadmissible.”
Nestle has already lost a legal bid in Britain — currently an EU member state but set to leave next year — to trademark the Kit Kat shape.