The new UAE Commercial Companies Law (the New CCL) has been published in the Official Federal Gazette and will enter into force on 1 July 2015.
The New CCL incorporates a number of changes relevant to the establishment and governance of companies in the UAE.
New features of note include the ability for shareholders of a limited liability company to pledge their shares to third parties as security, a financial assistance prohibition in relation to joint stock companies and a reduction of the minimum free float requirement on an IPO from 55% to 30%.
The New CCL retains the current foreign ownership restrictions. However, the Minister of Economy has separately reiterated the Government's intention to enact a new Foreign Direct Investment Law that will allow greater foreign ownership in certain (but as yet unspecified) sectors outside free zones.
To date, no timeline has been published for the introduction of the new Foreign Direct Investment Law.