Foreign investors allowed full ownership of mining firms
Amman Stock Exchange's brokers on Sunday, February 18, said that the government has allowed foreign investors to own up to 100 percent of the capital of the country's mining industry firms, a move that came as a major surprise to the local business community. The change was introduced by amendments to the Non-Jordanian Investments Regulation which was approved by the Investment Promotion Corporation and circulated among the ASE brokerage houses.
Sources said the new regulation, which replaced the 1995 rules, linked such ownership to the approval of the Council of Ministers. Unfortunately, none of the ASE's brokers was aware of the new amendment, which was published in the Official Gazette last November. A broker said the decision could attract new investors to the mining industry.
“We came to know about this development only in the past few days; we do not know why nobody was aware of the new amendment,” the broker, who asked not to be named, said. “We consulted with the Jordan Cement Factories Company who confirmed the matter,” he added. The broker said JCFC's shares have recorded the limit-up price at the end of Sunday's trading.
“We have orders from foreign investors to buy in the mining firms but we do not know what to do because the situation involves some risk,” the broker added. “Foreign investors could take risk if they decide to buy shares in the mining firms because such steps can be revoked by ASE's administration,” the broker said.
“The risk could come from the ASE's administration which could revoke some of the contracts on the shares of the mining firms,” the broker said.
“Nothing is clear, and we do not know what is going to happen, but the ASE's management should make things clear and say if non-Jordanian investors can buy stakes over 50 percent in the mining firms or not,” the broker added.
According to the Privatization Law, endorsed by the Lower House last year, the mining industry was among the few sectors where non-Jordanian ownership was restricted to below 50 percent. — ( Jordan Times )
By Tareq Ayyoub
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)