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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)
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.

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