Etisalat, the largest telco in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the country’s biggest listed company, has said that foreign shareholders will not be given voting rights when it opens its stock to overseas investors. The firm, which has operations in 19 countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, is 60%-owned by the UAE government, with the remainder held by local individual shareholders. Institutional and international investors are currently unable to buy shares, although the government this week approved a plan to open the company up to institutions and non-UAE nationals.
In a statement to the Abu Dhabi bourse reported by Reuters, Etisalat has clarified that, once the changes come into effect, overseas investors will be eligible to hold up to 20% of its shares, though they will not be granted voting rights. The company has not yet indicated when the stock will be opened up. Meanwhile the government will be given a ‘special share’ which will grant it veto rights over key decisions, including changes to share capital, rights attached to shares, approval of mergers and allowing the state’s stake to fall below 51%.