Saudi Stock Exchange to Name IPO Advisers Within Days, CEO Says

Saudi Stock Exchange to Launch IPO
  • Arab world's biggest bourse has done IPO readiness exercise
  • Stock market will be ready for Aramco public offering: CEO

Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange is poised to appoint banks to manage its initial public offering and will make an announcement within a few days, its chief executive officer said.

The Tadawul Stock Exchange has carried out an “IPO-readiness exercise,” and consulted foreign investors about ways to structure the Saudi market to make it more accessible to them, Khalid Abdullah Al Hussan said in an interview on Tuesday at the Euromoney conference in Riyadh.

“In the next few days, we will appoint the financial advisers and we will publicly announce that immediately,” Al Hussan said. “We have been working very closely with market participants and potential foreign investors to identify what are the required changes to activate the platform.”

The Tadawul, currently owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, said in December it expects to carry out the IPO in 2018, amid a broad Saudi privatization drive that includes plans to list of up to 5 percent in state oil giant Aramco. The Saudi exchange would join its regional rival in the United Arab Emirates, where the Dubai Financial Market PJSC made its market debut in 2007.

Al Hussan said he hoped the bourse’s listing would herald a new era of transparency and encourage other businesses in the kingdom to offer their shares to the public. Earlier, the exchange announced steps to open up the stock market to foreigners by lowering the threshold for entry and activating covered short-selling with the ability to lend and borrow securities.

"Preaching to others what you practice is the best way to lead by example," he said. "We want to go through this experience and we want it to be a transparent experience."

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