Saudi Stock Exchange Soars on Debut After $1 Billion IPO
Saudi Tadawul Group surged on its trading debut after the stock exchange raised $1 billion, marking the biggest exchange IPO since Euronext went public in 2014.
The shares rose as much as 22% on Wednesday on bets that buoyant Middle East stock markets will attract more listings from private companies and cash from investors around the world.
The pipeline for IPOs in the kingdom is “deeper than ever,” Chief Executive Officer Khalid al Hussan said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “It will be even better next year,” he said, adding that technology, health care and education companies are among the newcomers to the market.
Tadawul shares traded up 12% at 117 riyals by 2:12 p.m. in Riyadh. The company set the IPO price at 105 riyals, the top of an indicative range, after attracting 458 billion riyals ($122 billion) of orders from investors.
The IPO, the kingdom’s second-biggest this year after the $1.2 billion listing of ACWA Power International in October, comes as countries in the Middle East step up efforts to sell shares in private companies and boost liquidity on their stock markets.
Saudi Arabia has been the leader in the region, with the listings of ACWA Power and Saudi Telecom Co.’s internet-services unit -- both drawing overwhelming investor demand and surging by the daily limit on their first day of trade. Abu Dhabi has also seen an IPO boom, while Dubai has announced plans to list some 10 state-owned companies.
The Saudi benchmark index had been on a tear this year, extending its 2021 gains to as much as 37% in October. But recently it has pared its advance as the emergence of the omicron variant tested global investor sentiment.
Tadawul’s IPO has been planned since at least 2016, when it hired HSBC Holdings Plc as an adviser. It put the offering on hold while the exchange went through a process of increasing access for foreign investors, and then staged the listing of Aramco in 2019, the world’s largest ever.
The process was resumed earlier this year and Tadawul replaced HSBC with Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., and SNB Capital as financial advisers and global coordinators.
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