10.09.2018

UAE COMPANIES LAW UPDATE

New Zealand businesses looking to establish a foothold in the UAE have many options

Setting up a company in the UAE

New Zealand businesses looking to establish a foothold in the UAE have many options.

They can choose between setting up in the UAE mainland, or, in one of the many free zones in the UAE. 

Businesses will typically choose to incorporate a company “onshore” in the UAE mainland if they intend to operate in the local UAE market. 

By contrast, entities that set up in a free zone are can operate in that free zone, but not mainland UAE. 

Ownership of companies

Companies incorporated in the UAE mainland are required to have at least 51% local Emirati shareholding i.e. the maximum allowable foreign ownership is 49%.

Entities set up in a free zone can have 100% foreign ownership. 

This ability to retain 100% ownership makes setting up a free zone entity preferable for many businesses, even though this will impact on their ability trade in the local UAE market. 

Change in ownership of mainland companies

Earlier this year Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai, announced on Twitter that the UAE would allow 100% foreign ownership of mainland companies. 

https://twitter.com/search?q=100%25%20foreign%20ownership&src=typd

It is expected that the scope of the change – at least initially – will be limited to certain sectors and industries.  However it is still a significant development and may signal further changes in the future. 

A new law implementing the change is anticipated shortly.

For practical legal advice specific to your business, contact Hesketh Henry’s specialist Transport and Trade team:

https://www.heskethhenry.co.nz/Our+Services/Transport+and+Trade.html.

Disclaimer: Hesketh Henry does not advise on UAE law.  We have strong relationships with a number of law firms in the UAE who can give detailed advice on setting up in the UAE.

Simon Cartwright
Partner

Simon is a trade and transport specialist.  He is qualified in New Zealand and England. 

Previously a partner with an international law firm and based in Dubai, he has extensive experience advising on trade issues, including sanctions.

Simon.Cartwright@heskethhenry.co.nz

Tel: +64 9 375 8727

Mobile: +64 22 301 9870

Do you need expert legal advice?
Contact the expert team at Hesketh Henry.
Kerry_100x100 1
Media contact - Kerry Browne
Please contact Kerry with any media enquiries and with any questions related to marketing or sponsorships on +64 9 375 8747 or via email.

Related Articles / Insights & Opinion

Bereavement Leave Confirmed for Miscarriages and Stillbirths 
New Zealand has become the second country in the world to pass legislation that provides bereavement leave for mothers and their partners after a miscarriage or stillbirth.
26.03.2021 Posted in Business Advice & Employment Law
Court of Appeal Overturns Employment Court’s Decision in Tourism Holdings
Tourism Holdings Limited v A Labour Inspector of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (Tourism Holdings) is the first decision in which the Employment Court considered section 8(2) of the Holidays Act 2003 (Act). The Court of Appeal has recently overturned this decision.
26.03.2021 Posted in Business Advice & Employment Law
Guarantees must be in writing and signed to be enforceable
For a guarantee to be enforceable, the requirements set out in section 27 of the Property Law Act 2007 (Act) must be strictly complied with.  This is what the NZSC held in Brougham v Regan. The key i...
19.03.2021 Posted in Business Advice
UK Supreme Court Delivers Decision on Uber Driver Employment Status
The distinction between employee and independent contractor can be complex, particularly where the nature of the business model blurs the lines of standard employment practices.
16.03.2021 Posted in Business Advice & Employment Law
Holidays Act Overhaul – Taskforce Recommendations
There have been calls for an amendment of the Holidays Act 2003 (Act) for some time.
16.03.2021 Posted in Business Advice & Employment Law
Unwanted Land Covenants and Easements: Seeking a Court Order
The Supreme Court recently considered an application by Synlait Milk to modify a land covenant restricting the burdened land use to farming, grazing and forestry operation to protect the ability of the benefited land owner to develop a quarry.  This article looks at the circumstances in which the courts might give relief to parties in an application to extinguish or modify a covenant or easement.
15.03.2021 Posted in Property Law
New ICC Arbitration Rules 2021 come into force
The revised International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Arbitration Rules for 2021 (2021 Rules) have now come into force and apply to all ICC arbitrations begun after 1 January 2021.  While the new Rules...
10.03.2021 Posted in Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Send us an enquiry
For expert legal advice, please complete the form below or call us on (09) 375 8700.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
-->