Saudi privatisation push tipped to generate 100 IPOs
Saudi Arabia's privatisation drive is likely to result in around 100 new stock market listings in sectors including mining, healthcare and retail, a top HSBC executive said yesterday.
Georges Elhedery, HSBC's CEO for the Middle East and North Africa, did not give a time frame for the listings but said they were part of Saudi plans to diversify its economy beyond oil by 2030.
Close to 180 companies are already listed on the Saudi market and HSBC is advising the stock exchange on its planned listing of its own shares, while industry sources have said that the bank will play a key advisory role in the upcoming listing of national oil giant Saudi Aramco.
"We are talking, up to possible 100 IPOs (or) 100 entities to be listed on the stock exchange in Saudi Arabia," Elhedery said at an event marking the 150th anniversary of Thomson Reuters in the region.
Elhedery said the planned listing of a "jewel" like Aramco is a strong example of Saudi Arabia's commitment to the privatisation programme.
Aramco is gearing up for a 5pc share listing next year, aiming to get a valuation of up to $2 trillion in what could be the world's biggest initial public offering.
Although Aramco has not made a decision yet on the international venue for the IPO, Gulf Capital's co-founder Karim El Solh said at the same event on Monday that he expected it to be New York "given the size (and) the nature of the industry".
Global exchanges such as the London Stock Exchange are pitching for a slice of Aramco's IPO, which HSBC's Elhedery said would generate huge demand from strategic investors regardless of where it is listed. (Reuters)