Company formation specialist Links Group celebrates 10 years of business success
Firm says forthcoming legislative changes will transform its business and local economies for the better
21 February 2012, Dubai, UAE: Links Group, the foremost company formation specialist in the UAE and Qatar, this year celebrates its 10th anniversary. A pioneer in nominee partner structures for onshore license issuance, Links Group has been at the forefront of attracting foreign businesses to the two Gulf States. While the company says its success over the last 10 years mirrors the growth stories of the UAE and Qatar, it anticipates the next five years will become its most dynamic period yet as wide sweeping changes to local company laws come into effect.
A trailblazer within the sector, Links Group was the first company of its kind to introduce the corporate partner structure for nominee partner services, a model which has proved instrumental in helping foreign companies to navigate the ownership requirements of local company laws pertaining to onshore commercial arrangements.
In 2004, Links Group became the only 100 per cent foreign owned company to extend its corporate nominee partner model to joint venture arrangements, in effect becoming the first business incubator in the UAE. This structure helped to foster a period of entrepreneurial growth at a time when the country’s regulations were unfavourable to the start-up operator.
By 2005, Links Group extended its corporate nominee partner service to Qatar and established preferred partner relationships with the Qatar Foundation and Qatar Financial Centre Authority. Links Group is now widely recognised as an important bridge between foreign companies, overseas trade bodies and local government agents, facilitating all matters related to establishing a commercial presence in the region.
In 2010, Links Group formed the first public-private partnership (PPP) in the UAE when it became an affiliate of the Foreign Direct Investment office of the Dubai Department of Economic Development. Acting in an advisory capacity, Links Group brings to the government department valuable insights on how the private sector operates and what business infrastructure changes are needed to attract further investment inflows.
According to Links Group, interest among foreign companies to expand to the UAE and Qatar remains at some of the highest levels it has seen. However, a lack of transparency around laws and future provisions to regulations continues to deter some companies from formalising their local market presence.
“Foreign participation in onshore limited liability company arrangements has remained an ongoing debate since 2003. We certainly welcome the mooted revisions to the UAE Companies Law as increasing the equity positions of foreign-owned companies will only help to attract more investment to the region. However, these businesses demand transparency around the terms of those changes. Provide that and foreign investment will certainly surpass the levels experienced during the boom of 2007,” said John Martin St. Valery, Founder & CEO of Links Group.
Although yet to be approved, one of the most watched laws includes foreign investment legislation, which will allow certain businesses or industries to increase their foreign ownership up to 100 per cent. Currently, most foreign investors can only hold up to 49 per cent equity in an onshore business in the UAE or Qatar, while only some foreign businesses deemed to be of “national interest” can apply for 100 per cent ownership rights.
“If passed, this law will radically transform our business from that of a nominee local partner to that of a local service agent. The requirement for labour and immigration services as well as municipality assistance will remain our most important obligation to our clients. With the relationships we have cultivated over the years, Links Group is particularly well placed to support what we anticipate will be an influx of new businesses incorporating in the UAE and Qatar over the next five years. These stand to be some of the most exciting years in our business success story,” added Martin St. Valery.