DUBAI: Foreign investors will be able to hold up to 49 percent of Qatar stock exchange-listed shares in four subsidiaries of Qatar Petroleum (QP) after limits on foreign ownership were lifted, the state-owned energy company said on Saturday.

In a statement, QP said shareholder ownership limits in the companies would also be raised, to 1 percent for Qatar Fuel (WOQOD) and to 2 percent for Gulf International Services Company and Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding Company.

The three firms, along with Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC), will take the steps needed to approve the increase in the foreign ownership limit to 49 percent within the coming weeks, the statement said.

It did not mention QEWC when outlining changes to shareholder ownership limits.

"We believe this decision will give more strength to Qatar Stock Exchange, and will contribute to its development to be a leading regional financial center and an attractive financial destination to local and global investments," QP president and CEO Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi said in the statement.

It did not say what the current foreign ownership limit is, but a stock market official said it was 25 percent for most companies listed on the Gulf Arab state's bourse.

Earlier this month, Industries Qatar increased its foreign ownership limit to 49 percent from 25 percent in line with QP directives.


(Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Catherine Evans) ((;))