UAE telecoms giant to open shares to foreigners from September 15

Friday 04/09/2015
Etisalat serves 145 million customers in 15 countries

ABU DHABI - Foreign individuals and institutional investors will be allowed for the first time to buy shares of UAE telecoms giant Etisalat from September 15, the company said in a statement Sunday.

Etisalat, the second largest Arab telecoms firm after Saudi Telecom, serves 145 million customers in 15 countries.

Previously only Emirati individuals were allowed to own shares in the firm, which is 60 percent owned by the UAE government.

It decided in June to open up ownership to foreign individuals and investors of the 40 percent of the firm in private hands.

"Trading in Etisalat Group's shares on the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange by non-UAE individuals... will start on Tuesday, 15 September 2015," said a statement from the firm's board posted on the exchange's website.

It specified that under the new rules shares would be open to "foreign individuals, foreign corporate entities, UAE free zone entities and UAE incorporated entities."

Total foreign ownership in Etisalat will not be allowed to exceed 20 percent.

Etisalat's share price rose by about 5 percent on the news, pushing the Abu Dhabi index to open slightly up as the bourse in neighbouring Dubai dropped 1.6 percent.

When the news was first announced in June, Etisalat's share price rose the maximum allowed 15 percent for two consecutive days.