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In practice, however, Dubai company formation procedures are similar to the general system as other emirates follow, whereby foreign owned offshore companies operated in one of three ways: with a local sponsor, through a partnership with a UAE national or a company, through a private limited company or public shareholding company incorporated by Ruler's decree. Since 1984, steps have been taken to introduce a codified company law applicable throughout the UAE. Federal Law No. 8 of 1984, as amended by Federal Law No. 13 of 1988 - the “Commercial Companies Law” - and its bylaws have been issued. In broad terms, the provisions of the Law are as follows: The Federal Law stipulates a total local equity of not less than 51% in any commercial company and defines seven categories of business organization which can be established in the UAE. It sets out the requirements in terms of shareholders, directors, minimum capital levels and offshore company incorporation procedures. It further lays down provisions governing conversion, merger and dissolution of companies.