Saturday 21 September 2019
Food giant Mars has become one of the first multinational companies to take advantage of the UAE's new foreign direct investment (FDI) laws offering foreign companies 100 percent ownership of onshore companies by buying out its local partner.
The company, which has had a presence in the UAE for 40 years, has bought all of the shares in its onshore Dubai subsidiary, in which it had previously held a 49 percent stake. Foreign-owned companies could only own a minority stake in UAE companies until the introduction of the FDI law last year, although they could set up wholly-owned ventures within the country's free zones, which were considered to be 'offshore' for regulatory purposes.
Mars is a privately-owned food company that includes some of the world's best-known confectionery brands as well as food brands such as Dolmio and Uncle Ben's, and pet food brands Whiskas, Royal Canin, and Pedigree. The company is still owned by the Mars family, and has revenue of USD 35 billion, although chief executive Grant Reid told Bloomberg in January this year that it would look to double this beyond USD 70 billion within the next decade.
The company has invested more than USD 150 million in its UAE operations thus far, setting up an offshore presence within Jebel Ali Free Zone in 1993 before creating an onshore joint venture in 2013.