Foreigners can buy into IPOs on case-by-case basis

Updated 06 May 2015

Foreigners can buy into IPOs on case-by-case basis

Foreigners will be allowed to buy directly into initial public offering of shares in Saudi Arabian companies on a case-by-case basis, the chairman of the Saudi Capital Market Authority said on Tuesday.
The CMA announced on Monday rules allowing foreign institutions to begin investing directly in the stock market, subject to restrictions such as a 10 percent cap on combined foreign ownership of the market.
But IPOs are a special matter because they are usually priced in Saudi Arabia well below market value, as a way to spread the Kingdom’s wealth among its citizens, Reuters said.
CMA Chairman Mohammed Aljadaan, speaking at the Euromoney Conference on Tuesday, said the regulator and individual companies would decide on a case-by-case basis whether to permit direct foreign participation in IPOs.
“It is a coordination between the issuer and the CMA,” he said. “It is quite open for interpretation. There are no restrictions. It will be up to the market and what the CMA feels the market requires at the time.”
Aljadaan also said that while he couldn’t speculate, personally he didn’t believe there would be a sudden flood of foreign funds into the stock market when it opens on June 15.
On the possibility of relaxing foreign ownership restrictions in future, he said: “Hopefully as the market moves and as the market matures, things could be relaxed.”


France ready to take Trump’s tariff threat to WTO

Updated 08 December 2019

France ready to take Trump’s tariff threat to WTO

  • Macron government will discuss a global digital tax with Washington at the OECD, says finance minister

PARIS: France is ready to go to the World Trade Organization to challenge US President Donald Trump’s threat to put tariffs on French goods in a row over a French tax on internet companies, its finance minister said on Sunday.

“We are ready to take this to an international court, notably the WTO, because the national tax on digital companies touches US companies in the same way as EU or French companies or Chinese. It is not discriminatory,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told France 3 television. Paris has long complained about US digital companies not paying enough tax on revenues earned in France.

In July, the French government decided to apply a 3 percent levy on revenue from digital services earned in France by firms with more than €25 million in French revenue and €750 million ($845 million) worldwide. It is due to kick in retroactively from the start of 2019.

Washington is threatening to retaliate with heavy duties on imports of French cheeses and luxury handbags, but France and the EU say they are ready to retaliate in turn if Trump carries out the threat. Le Maire said France was willing to discuss a global digital tax with the US at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), but that such a tax could not be optional for internet companies.

“If there is agreement at the OECD, all the better, then we will finally have a global digital tax. If there is no agreement at OECD level, we will restart talks at EU level,” Le Maire said.

He added that new EU Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni had already proposed to restart such talks.

France pushed ahead with its digital tax after EU member states, under the previous executive European Commission, failed to agree on a levy valid across the bloc after opposition from Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

The new European Commission assumed office on Dec. 1.