Saudi Arabia's Stock Exchange Hires HSBC's Saudi Unit for IPO

  • Tadawul initial public offering by 2018, pending approval
  • Exchange listing comes amid broad privatization drive

Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange, the biggest in the Middle East and Africa, hired HSBC Saudi Arabia Ltd. as a financial adviser for its initial public offering.

“The appointment of a financial adviser is an important milestone,” the bourse said Thursday in a statement on its website as part of its initiative to boost transparency. The offering is scheduled to happen by 2018 pending regulatory approvals.

The public offering comes amid a broad Saudi privatization drive that includes plans to list up to 5 percent in state oil giant Aramco. Earlier this week, the $404 billion Tadawul Stock Exchange said it will relax restrictions on foreign investors as part of its plan to turn the bourse into a gateway for inflows into the kingdom.

The Tadawul’s Chief Executive Officer Khalid Abdullah Al Hussan on Tuesday said he hoped the bourse’s listing would encourage other businesses in the kingdom to pursue public equity sales. Its regional rival, the Dubai Financial Market PJSC, made its market debut in 2007.

The IPO could raise more than $500 million for a 30 percent stake in the company, two people familiar with the matter said this week.

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