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Al-Mirsal Insights and commentary on legal developments in the Middle East

Category Archives: Capital Markets

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New EU Sanctions Target Russian Oil Sector, State-Owned Banks and Military Exports

Posted in Banking and Finance, Capital Markets, Oil & Gas, Technology

The European Union (EU) enacted Council Regulation (EU) No 833/2014 (the Regulation), which contains ‘Stage 3’ sanctions against Russia. These sanctions resemble – but in other ways are different – from the latest US sanctions, and they amount to the stiffest anti-Russian actions taken by Europe since the end of the Cold War. Perhaps most… Continue Reading

How Project Bonds Can Release Asset Value

Posted in Capital Markets, Project Development and Finance

Whilst project bonds have for some time been a popular source of financing for projects in the US, they have historically been slow to gain momentum in other parts of the world, including the Middle East. A number of explanations have been advanced for this – in the Middle East, the deep pool of bank… Continue Reading

Saudi Opens Market to Foreign Financial Institutions

Posted in Capital Markets, Saudi Arabia

In a long anticipated measure, the Saudi Council of Ministers (which is the highest authority in the Kingdom) issued a resolution on 21 July, 2014 authorizing foreign financial institutions to directly buy and sell stocks listed on the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul). The resolution also authorized the Saudi Capital Market Authority (the “CMA”) to set… Continue Reading

Top 4 Innovations Driving Growth in the Global Sukuk Market

Posted in Capital Markets, Islamic Finance, Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates

The Sukuk Opportunity Total Sukuk issuances for 2013 stood at approximately US$120 billion and the Sukuk market is likely to sustain double-digit growth in the coming two to three years with assets in Islamic finance expected to reach US$2.8 trillion by 2015. The growth of the Sukuk market has allowed investors to diversify their portfolio… Continue Reading

How the GCC Can Boost Confidence in its Local Exchanges

Posted in Capital Markets, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries accounted for IPO issuances valued at US$1.1 billion in 2013, according to Bloomberg. Notably, Qatar Exchange bounced back this year with the successful IPO and listing of Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding company Q.S.C. (a Qatar Petroleum Subsidiary), the first IPO in Qatar since 2010 and the first under the current… Continue Reading

Qatar Amends Regulations and Issues Rules as MSCI Upgrade Comes Into Effect

Posted in Capital Markets, Qatar, Regulatory

Qatar, along with the UAE, has been upgraded from “frontier” to “emerging” market status by MSCI (an upgrade that is now in effect), which is among the criteria used by a large number of institutional investors and private equity funds to identify markets in which they can invest. It has been reported that the upgrade… Continue Reading

First Qatari IPO in Three Years and QFMA’s New Listing Rules

Posted in Capital Markets, Oil & Gas, Qatar

Qatar Petroleum (QP) recently announced the first initial public offering (IPO) in Qatar since 2010. Shares in Mesaieed Petrochecmical Holding company Q.S.C. (MPHC) are being offered to eligible Qatari investors in the first IPO in Qatar since 2010 and the introduction by the Qatar Financial Market Authority (QFMA) of its current listing rules. It is also the first public offering in… Continue Reading

Top 4 Trends that are Shaping UAE Capital Markets

Posted in Capital Markets, Real Estate, United Arab Emirates

The strengthening global recovery appears to have brought renewed confidence to the UAE’s capital markets. As such, a number of interesting themes have begun to emerge: Resurgence in Dubai’s Real Estate Sector:  Following a four year gap, IPOs and other equity offerings have returned in the form of DAMAC, Al Noor Hospitals, Arabtec, NMC Healthcare… Continue Reading

Window for Comments on Saudi CMA’s Draft Guidelines for Public Company Losses Now Closed

Posted in Capital Markets, Saudi Arabia

The global financial crisis and credit crunch prompted the Capital Markets Authority in Saudi Arabia (the “CMA”) to introduce rules to increase investor awareness of public company financial difficulties.  In May 2013, the CMA published draft guidelines and instructions setting out certain rules that apply to public companies when the losses of a public company… Continue Reading

Qatar and UAE Indices Achieve ‘Emerging Market’ Status

Posted in Capital Markets, Qatar, United Arab Emirates

Upgrade by MSCI is a vote of confidence in economic models and a positive indicator for regional capital markets MSCI, Inc., the US-based provider of investment decision support tools and risk and performance analytics, has announced it is upgrading both Qatar and the United Arab Emirates from “frontier market” to “emerging market” status. Qatar and… Continue Reading

The Emergence of Egyptian Sukuk

Posted in Capital Markets, Islamic Finance

Following widespread debate and commentary on the first draft of the Egyptian sukuk legislation (the sukuk legislation), the Egyptian cabinet has approved a second draft of the sukuk legislation to be presented to the Egyptian Shura Council for parliamentary discussion. The legislation is a significant change in legal direction for Egypt that has only embraced… Continue Reading

Hong Kong – Getting Set for Sukuk

Posted in Capital Markets, Hong Kong, Islamic Finance, Regulatory

Following a public consultation process, Hong Kong has commenced the legislative process for the introduction of tax changes to permit the issuance of Sukuk. The proposed legislation was published in a Legislative Council Brief on December 28, 2012, which seeks to establish a level playing field for the taxation of conventional bonds and Sukuk (referred… Continue Reading

New Markets Law Regime Takes Effect in the DIFC

Posted in Capital Markets

A number of significant changes to the securities and capital markets regime in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) came into force on 5 July 2012. The changes represent the policy of the DIFC’s regulator, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) to more closely align the DIFC with leading benchmark jurisdictions and the requirements of… Continue Reading

Japanese Tax Law Reforms Facilitate Issuance of Sukuk by Japanese Companies

Posted in Capital Markets, Japan

The Japanese Financial Services Agency has issued a document (see Taxation of J-Sukuk Q&A) highlighting reforms to Japanese tax laws implemented in 2011 that facilitate the issuance of sukuk by Japanese companies (J-Sukuk). Following these reforms, distributions paid on J-Sukuk benefit from the same favourable withholding tax treatment as interest or coupons paid on corporate… Continue Reading

Current Trends in Islamic Finance on Agenda at Kuala Lumpur Conference

Posted in Capital Markets, Islamic Finance

In a session on “Current Trends in Islamic Finance” at the In-House Counsel Congress today in Kuala Lumpur, Latham partners Bryant Edwards and Craig Nethercott discussed the opportunities for Shari’ah compliant debt issuance in the United States capital markets. “US capital markets remain the deepest capital markets and investors in these markets are increasingly interested… Continue Reading

Current Challenges for GCC Family-Owned Businesses

Posted in Banking and Finance, Capital Markets

Family-owned businesses continue to drive commercial activities in the economies of the Middle East. According to recent statistics, in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region alone, family businesses control over 90% of commercial activity. Today, family businesses are confronted with numerous challenges in the changing economic environment, including governance, globalisation, technology, generational change and innovation…. Continue Reading

Iraq: Opportunities Despite Ongoing Uncertainty

Posted in Capital Markets, Project Development and Finance

Few countries in the world have come close to matching Iraq in terms of contradictory media coverage in recent years. Stories of economic growth and opportunity are tempered by reports of political, tribal and sectarian divisions. While the world is focussed on insecurity in the immediate aftermath of the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq… Continue Reading

Eurozone crisis – Permitted in the Middle East?

Posted in Banking and Finance, Capital Markets

In February, Greece launched its sovereign debt swap, pursuant to which holders of EUR 206 billion of its bonds were invited to swap their existing holdings for a package of instruments with a nominal value of just 46.5 per cent. of the par value of their current bonds. This invitation for voluntary participation in the… Continue Reading

NASDAQ Dubai Consults on New Admission and Disclosure Standards

Posted in Capital Markets

NASDAQ Dubai recently consulted on its new proposed Admission and Disclosure Standards (the “ADSs”). Reform of the DIFC’s Listing Regime The proposed ADSs, issued on 6 February 2012, are part of significant ongoing reform of the regulatory architecture governing NASDAQ Dubai and other securities exchanges in the Dubai International Financial Centre (the DIFC). The reforms… Continue Reading

An Alternative Market for Public Listings in Qatar

Posted in Capital Markets, M&A/ Private Equity

The Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) has created an alternative market for public listings in Qatar, unofficially dubbed the new “ventures market.” The QFMA also has adopted a new set of listing rules (the New Listing Rules) to create a separate but parallel regulatory framework for companies seeking a public listing on the alternative market…. Continue Reading

Wataniya Mobile’s IPO and the Potential for a Palestinian Growth Story

Posted in Capital Markets, Islamic Finance

Investing in the Palestinian territories has traditionally been laced with political and economic risk. But the successful listing of the second player in the Palestinian mobile telecommunications sector has invited a closer look at the potential for investment. 2011 saw the successful completion of the largest initial public offering (IPO) in the Palestinian territories in… Continue Reading