Weekly Spotlight: Key Company Law Changes in Oman Sultani Decree No. 18/2019

Oman Official Gazette, issue 1281 has included Oman Sultani Decree No. 18/2019 and at the same time some of the company law changes have become clearer. According to legal experts, Oman Sultani Decree No. 18/2019 has amended the company ownership rules for small firms. It also replaces individual institutions with sole proprietorships who will be regulated differently. Previously companies in the Sultanate could only be established with two proprietors.

Other changes include facilitating the process for companies to turn into SAOGs without the need to have a capital of 2,000,000 Riyals. In addition, these companies will now be regulated by the Capital Market Authority. It will also be easier for companies to merge and there are measures to help struggling companies, so they don’t have to declare bankruptcy. There are various guarantees including a public mandate for insurance to ensure bankrupt companies are insured. Voluntary liquidation must also be completed within three years now and judges can oversee liquidations.

Elsewhere the Government is considering a new Foreign Investment Law. If it is approved, it will allow foreign companies or individuals to increase their ownership in local companies to up to 100%. Currently foreign companies must have a local partner to do business in the Sultanate. The local partner must own 33% of the company. Additional restrictions on foreign entities having property assets or minimum capital requirements could also be introduced. Disputes will also be able to be settled by international arbitration.

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