Saudi Bottled Water Company Is Said to Join List of IPO Hopefuls

One of Saudi Arabia’s biggest bottled-water companies is exploring going public, according to people familiar with the matter.

Riyadh-based Berain Water has hired the investment banking arm of Samba Financial Group to manage a possible initial public offering of a 30% stake, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. No decision has yet been made and the company may decide against an IPO, they said.

Samba Capital and Berain declined to comment.

The IPO could add to a string of listings in Saudi Arabia, where companies are taking advantage of investors’ demand for new offerings and as state entities look to raise money to bankroll efforts to diversify the economy.

The listing would also open a new industry to public investment in Saudi Arabia, a desert country that’s forecast to be among the top 10 most “water-stressed” nations in 2040 by research organization the World Resources Institute. The kingdom is also expected later this year to sell part of one of the world’s biggest desalination plants, the Ras Al-Khair facility on Saudi Arabia’s Persian Gulf coast.

Berain is owned by Global Beverages Co., a subsidiary of Rajhi Invest.

Some government-controlled firms including the Saudi stock exchange and Acwa Power are also pushing ahead with plans to raise money by selling shares this year. Saudi Telecom Co. and Saudi Basic Industries Corp. are planning to offer stakes in subsidiaries.

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