August 27, 2018 / 1:24 PM / 24 days ago

Saudi Arabia issues draft on issuance of global depositary receipts

DUBAI, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s capital markets regulator has issued draft rules for local companies to issue depositary receipts abroad, giving them a new channel to attract foreign equity investment.

The draft sets out the requirements for issuing global depositary receipts, which bundle shares of local companies for trade on foreign exchanges. The draft is open to public consultation for 30 days, the Capital Market Authority said on Monday.

The move follows a string of market reforms in Saudi Arabia since 2015, when the Riyadh exchange opened itself to direct investment by foreign institutions and began easing restrictions on foreign ownership of companies.

The reforms have encouraged international firms such as BlackRock, Citigroup, HSBC and Ashmore to invest directly in the market.

For over two years, Saudi authorities considered the sale of a stake in national oil giant Saudi Aramco, and GDRs would have been one way to list some of its shares on overseas markets.

However, authorities have now decided to shelve the offer indefinitely because of valuation and regulatory concerns, sources told Reuters this month. (Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Andrew Torchia and Pritha Sarkar)

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