Al-Mirsal

Category Archives: Capital Markets

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Middle East Privatisation – Saudi Arabia Par Excellence?

Saudi Arabia’s recently announced plans to privatise several key industries in the Kingdom has once again brought the Kingdom’s privatisation agenda back into the spotlight. The announcements form part of the countries transformational initiatives as part of The 2016-2020 National Transformation Plan (NTP) to improve public sector efficiency and boost non-oil revenues in the region, … Continue Reading

What You Need to Know About Abu Dhabi Global Market’s New Draft Regulations

The Abu Dhabi Global Market, Abu Dhabi’s new financial free zone, located on Al Maryah Island, recently issued a first wave of draft regulations and related consultation papers. The Global Market’s general approach in the draft regulations follows very closely the  English law model. In particular, the Global Market is proposing to apply English common … Continue Reading

3 Top Legal Issues to Tackle on Solar Projects

The Middle East and North Africa region is on the cusp of a new energy revolution. US$50 billion has been set aside for investment in solar power projects by 2020, as MENA governments seek to maximise the long term value of their hydrocarbon resources by utilising solar energy to meet growing domestic consumption. Whilst these … Continue Reading

As Bitcoin Gains Momentum, Focus on Regulation Increases

The virtual currency market has emerged in the United Arab Emirates with Dubai’s first Bitcoin ATM introduced in April 2014. Middle East entrepreneurs have begun launching Bitcoin payment products and SMEs are beginning to realise the potential of such technology, with The Pizza Guys becoming the first restaurant in the UAE to accept Bitcoin payments. … Continue Reading

Is Green Sukuk a Viable Option for Clean Energy Initiatives in the GCC?

A number of GCC governments, including those in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, have set ambitious clean energy and energy efficiency targets. As the fastest growing region in the world, the GCC’s population is expected to grow more than 53 million by 2020. Substantial amounts of investments will be required to finance the clean energy … Continue Reading

Why International Investors are Watching the Tadawul

The MSCI upgrade of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to “emerging market’ status marked the beginning of increasingly liberalised GCC stock exchanges. Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange, the Tadawul, is by far the largest securities exchange in the GCC by market capitalisation. It is also the most liquid in terms of daily trading volumes and … Continue Reading

Saudi Capital Market Authority Publishes Draft Rules for Qualified Foreign Financial Institutions Investment in Listed Shares

Following last month’s announcement by the Saudi Arabian Capital Market Authority (the CMA) of its proposal to permit participation by qualified financial institutions directly on the Kingdom’s stock exchange (the Tadawul), the CMA has now published its Draft Rules for public consultation. The Draft Rules include detailed provisions relating to qualified foreign investor (QFI) eligibility, … Continue Reading

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

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

Saudi Opens Market to Foreign Financial Institutions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
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