UAE telecoms firm Etisalat to offer shares to foreigners

Telecoms tower1Etisalat, one of only two telecoms firms in the UAE, will allow foreigners to buy up to a fifth of its shares for the first time.

The step will increase the investment options for foreign investors on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, where Etisalat is listed, which is currently dominated by banking and real estate firms.

Etisalat, which revealed the plans in a filing with the exchange, did not say when it would begin to offer the shares to foreign investors. The firm is 60%-owned by a government fund, the Emirates Investment Authority, and the rest is owned by Emirati citizens.

Fund managers in the region have previously complained that few of the UAE’s key industries are represented on the country’s stock exchanges, which besides the Abu Dhabi exchange include the Dubai Financial Market.

The oil, tourism and logistics industries account for much of the economy of the country yet investors have few means of exposure to these sectors on the public markets.

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