Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA) has introduced fresh guidelines that would lend companies more freedom while setting up and restructuring operations, and also provide firms flexibility while listing on the local stock market.
Free Zone Establishment (FZE), Free Zone Company (FZCO) and branches will now be brought under one regulation allowing them to rearrange their operations. The rules also allow foreign firms to be transferred to the free zone.
Fresh amendments will also help businesses to set up in the free zone with capital sufficient for their activities.
Besides, new rules will help them change the minimum and maximum shareholder requirements for FZCOs to two and 50, respectively.
Previously FZEs needed a single shareholder with a minimum capital of Dhs1 million and FZCOs two to five shareholders with a minimum capital of Dhs500,000.
“The concept of different classes of shares provides flexibility to owners to offer different voting rights to shares,” JAFZA said in a statement.
“This could allow structures with management rights shares providing flexibility to owners for raising equity while retaining management rights over the company,” it said.
JAFZA has also refined public listed company (PLC) definition allowing existing FZE and FZCO entities to list on the stock exchange.
This follows a business framework introduced by JAFZA in 2014 allowing companies to apply directly to the regulator to list shares on the Nasdaq Dubai Exchange.
“The new regulations streamline all the mandatory legalities related to the registration, administration, legal benefits and obligations of organizations in the free zone,” said Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, group chairman, and CEO of DP World and chairman of ports, customs, and Free Zone Corporation.