Saudi property firm Amlak plans first post-coronavirus Riyadh IPO

Saudi Arabia is encouraging new companies to list in a bid to deepen capital markets. (AFP)
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Updated 15 June 2020

Saudi property firm Amlak plans first post-coronavirus Riyadh IPO

  • Being a publicly listed company will give us more visibility among our clients, will help us build our business, Abdullah Al-Sudairy, CEO of Amlak International

RIYADH: Saudi real estate financing firm Amlak International said it will float 30 percent of its shares in Riyadh, in what will be the exchange’s first initial public offering (IPO) since the coronavirus crisis.

The Kingdom is encouraging more Saudi companies to list in a bid to deepen its capital markets as part of economic reforms aimed at reducing its reliance on oil revenues.

Amlak, which has assets of around SR3.1 billion ($826 million), said the final offer price would be announced on June 30 after a book-building process starting on June 22.

“Being a publicly listed company will give us more visibility among our clients, will help us build our business and will also help reduce our cost of capital and boost profitability considerably,” Amlak CEO Abdullah Al-Sudairy said.

Saudi Arabia’s NCB Capital is the sole financial adviser, bookrunner, underwriter and lead manager for the deal, which will have tranches for retail and institutional investors.

Major shareholders, which include the Saudi Investment Bank and Amlak Finance, a Dubai-based Islamic mortgage company, will be subject to a six month lock-up period.

“Driven by population growth and supportive government policy, housing demand in the Kingdom is expected to increase 188,000 units per year until 2021, increasing to 203,000 per year from 2022-2025 and to 219,000 per year from 2026-2029,” Amlak said in a statement.

Saudi retailer BinDawood Holding also plans to launch an initial public offering as early as this month, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.

The group, which controls supermarket chains Bindawood and Danube in the Kingdom, last year hired Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, NCB Capital and GIB to organize the deal, the sources said, with Moelis & Co. acting as a financial adviser.


Australia bounces out of recession as economy grows 3.3 percent

Updated 02 December 2020

Australia bounces out of recession as economy grows 3.3 percent

  • ‘Australia’s recession may be over, but Australia’s economic recovery is not’
  • Before this year, Australia had managed to avoid a recession for 28 years

WELLINGTON, New Zealand: Australia’s economy grew by 3.3 percent in the third quarter, rebounding from its first recession in nearly three decades as it recovered from pandemic-related shocks, according to figures released Wednesday.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told reporters the country still has a lot of ground to make up from the coronavirus downturn.

“Australia’s recession may be over, but Australia’s economic recovery is not,” he said.

Despite the latest quarterly rise, the economy contracted at a 3.8 percent annual pace. That’s after GDP fell by 0.3 percent in the first quarter and then by a record 7 percent in the second quarter.

“But the Australian economy has demonstrated its remarkable resilience and Australia is as well positioned as any other nation on Earth,” Frydenberg said. “Today’s national accounts represent a major step forward in Australia’s economic recovery.”

Before this year, Australia had managed to avoid a recession for 28 years. The economy grew even during the global financial crisis thanks to strong demand for Australia’s mineral exports and a robust domestic sector.

The better-than-expected figures were encouraging, economists said.

“The rebound in Q3 GDP reversed around 40 percent of the decline during the first half of the year and we expect output to return to pre-virus levels by mid-2021,” Ben Udy of Capital Economics said in a commentary.

Now on top of the pandemic, Australia is enduring a spate of rocky relations with China, its biggest trading partner.

Frydenberg said the situation with China is “very serious” but his government is focusing on striking deals with other countries in Asia and beyond.

“We have great produce, and we have great services, and we have great resource sectors, and I’m very optimistic about the opportunities for our exporters around the world,” he said.

Australia’s relationship with China worsened this week after a Chinese official tweeted a fake image of a grinning Australian soldier holding a bloodied knife to a child’s throat.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the image “repugnant” and demanded an apology from the Chinese government. But China has not backed down.

The post took aim at alleged abuses by elite Australian soldiers during the conflict in Afghanistan.

Tensions have been growing this year since the Australian government called for an independent inquiry into the origins of the pandemic. China has imposed tariffs and other restrictions on a number of Australian exports.