Committee to decide on UAE industries open to full foreign ownership

Foreigners are set to be allowed to own up to 100 percent of onshore UAE companies following a directive announced this week. (Shutterstock)
Updated 24 May 2018

Committee to decide on UAE industries open to full foreign ownership

  • Committee of representatives from UAE's seven emirates to decide on which industries are open to 100 percent foreign ownership.
  • Undersecretary for foreign trade & industry tells Bloomberg that new law's goal “is to attract quality investments and expertise and isn’t necessarily about the size or number of investments.”

LONDON: The UAE’s new law enabling foreigners to own 100 percent of onshore companies will be limited to specific industries deemed essential to the country’s economy, according to a senior government official.
Abdulla Al-Saleh, undersecretary for foreign trade & industry at the UAE’s Ministry of Economy, told Bloomberg that a final decision had not been taken on what industries to include in this week’s landmark decision to allow foreigners to fully own non-free zone companies.
Al-Saleh said a committee — made up of representatives of the country’s seven emirates — would make a decision on which industries to initially include, and would add further industries and companies in the future.
The law’s goal “is to attract quality investments and expertise and isn’t necessarily about the size or number of investments,” he said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg.
The UAE’s Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum said the ownership changes — as well as longer visas for selected students and selected professions — would be put implemented by the end of the year.
The move to extend foreign ownership has been welcomed by economists, even as key details have yet to be announced.
“The eligibility and the extensiveness of the investment liberalization will be critical to gauge the support to the economy,” Monica Malik, the chief economist at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, told Arab News on Thursday.
“Recent official comments indicated that the area of focus will likely be on factors such as job creation and technology transfer.”
Such a theme is in keeping with the UAE’s move to allow visas for up to 10 years for specialists working in medical, scientific, research and technical sectors, alongside 5-year student visas and 10-year visas for “exceptional” students.
Longer visa terms are predicted to especially impact the local real estate sector, which has languished in recent years thanks to increasing supply and sluggish economic conditions.


HSBC France to leave its Champs Elysees headquarters

Updated 5 min 35 sec ago

HSBC France to leave its Champs Elysees headquarters

  • HSBC France has a project of moving its headquarters by 2020 to 38 av Kleber
  • The building would be fit for 1,200 employees working mostly in corporate and investment banking and wealth management

PARIS/LONDON: HSBC France said on Wednesday its teams will leave a prestigious headquarters on Paris' Champs Elysees avenue by 2020 in an emblematic move ahead of the planned sale of its retail business in the country.
The exit and planned sale, following a strategic review of the group's French retail activities, are part of a broader cost-cutting effort under interim Chief Executive Noel Quinn.
"HSBC France has a project of moving its headquarters by 2020 to 38 av Kleber, 500 meters away from its actual headquarters that was sold in 2010," the bank said in a statement.
The building would be fit for 1,200 employees working mostly in corporate and investment banking and wealth management.
Another 500 employees will be moved to HSBC's hub in La Defense business district which now houses 4,000 of the bank's employees and to branches close to the Champs Elysees building.
HSBC France sold its headquarters at 103 avenue Champs Elysees, and a building in front of it at 15 rue Vernet, to Qatari investors and has rented them since then.
The move is necessitated because the owner wants to regain control of the buildings and also because HSBC needs to save money, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
Office rents in Paris are rising to levels not seen since at least 2003, according to Immostat data, as vacancy rates are at record lows.
HSBC inherited the historic headquarters when it bought the French retail operations of Crédit Commercial de France (CCF) in 2000.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the building was a hotel where World War One spy and exotic dancer Mata Hari was arrested.
HSBC Holdings has hired U.S. investment bank Lazard Ltd to sell its French retail business, a source close to the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.
Quinn is expected to unveil the first details of his strategic overhaul of the bank when it reports third-quarter earnings on Oct. 28.
Quinn is auditioning for the full-time CEO job and insiders said he is under pressure to take decisive action after Chairman Mark Tucker indicated his predecessor John Flint had not moved quickly enough to turn around the lender's performance.