Alwaleed’s Kingdom Seeks to Sell First Bonds as Saudi Companies Tap Debt

Feb. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Kingdom Holding Co., an investment company controlled by billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, is seeking to sell bonds for the first time, joining an increasing number of Saudi Arabian companies aiming to tap the debt market.

Kingdom Holding will hold a shareholders’ meeting March 27 to seek approval to sell conventional or Islamic bonds, the Riyadh-based company said in a statement to the Saudi bourse today. It didn’t provide further details.

Saudi Arabian corporate bond sales are poised to set a record in 2012 as a surge in state spending in the Arab world’s biggest economy encourages private businesses to invest more in expansion projects. Saudi Arabian Mining Co., the nation’s largest miner, and Almarai Co. are among five companies that unveiled plans to issue bonds this year. The state-run General Authority of Civil Aviation sold 15 billion riyals ($4 billion) of Islamic bonds in January.

Kingdom Holding, 95 percent owned by Prince Alwaleed, is building the tallest tower in the world in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, at a cost of 4.6 billion riyals. The company said in August it will use a mix of bank financing, cash and revenue from the project to fund the development. Kingdom Holding had current bank borrowings and terms loans of 1.46 billion riyals at the end of last year, according to its financial statement.

Prince Alwaleed’s investments include stakes in General Motors Co., News Corp. and Apple Inc. The prince, a nephew of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, was ranked the richest Arab businessman last year by Arabian Business magazine with assets valued at $21.3 billion.

Kingdom Holding’s board approved the purchase of the Oasis Kingdom project and land in Riyadh for 431 million riyals, it said in an earlier statement today. The shares rose 0.9 percent to 11.05 riyals in Riyadh today, giving the company a market value of 41 billion riyals.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mourad Haroutunian in Riyadh at mharoutunian@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.net

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