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Saudi Arabia to Offer 15% of National Commercial Bank

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Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is planning to sell a 15 percent stake in the National Commercial Bank, the kingdom’s biggest bank by assets, in an initial public offering, Chairman Mansoor Al Maiman said in a phone interview.

The state-run investment fund, which owns 69.3 percent of Jeddah-based NCB, will seek approval for the IPO from the market regulator in the third-quarter of this year, Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf was quoted by Al Arabiya news channel as saying today. The fund plans to allocate an additional 10 percent stake to the Public Pension Agency, he said.

“We will start the due diligence process as soon as possible,” said Al Maiman. “We will select the advisers for the IPO who are going to work on the financial and legal issues within the bank and its subsidiaries within this quarter.”

The sale will mark Saudi Arabia’s first bank initial public offering since 2008 and will probably be the region’s biggest IPO as NCB has 377.3 billion riyals ($100 billion) in assets. It made 7.9 billion riyals in profit last year.

The lender increased its paid-up capital to 20 billion riyals from 15 billion riyals to strengthen its financial position, Al Maiman said. The bank owns 90.7 percent of its investment arm NCB Capital and 66.3 percent of Turkey’s Turkiye Finans Katilim Bankasi, according to the bank’s website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Deema Almashabi in Riyadh at dalmashabi@bloomberg.net

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