JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia will allow foreign companies to list securities on the kingdom’s bourse, taking the Gulf Arab state a step closer to direct ownership for overseas investors.
The kingdom’s regulator, Capital Markets Authority, amended its listing regulations to allow foreign firms to cross-list on the bourse, it said in a statement Monday.
“A foreign issuer whose securities are listed in another regulated exchange may apply for its securities to be registered and admitted to listing on the exchange,” article 14 of the amended Listing Rules stated.
“The Authority may admit the securities to listing provided that, in the Authority’s opinion, the listing rules applicable in the foreign issuer’s jurisdiction of listing are at least equivalent to these rules.”
Saudi Arabia is pressing ahead with a long-awaited plan to open up its stock market to foreigners who are currently allowed to invest in Saudi Arabian companies only by share swap transactions via international investment banks, who deal with local partners.
The Gulf Arab country’s stock exchange is the largest in the Middle East with around 150 listed companies.
The opening up of the stock market is likely to attract considerable interest as it offers foreigners a chance to invest directly in blue chips like Saudi Basic Industries, the world’s most valuable chemical company.