Riyadh awaits IPO tsunami

Riyadh awaits IPO tsunami
Tadawul was the venue of choice for regional IPOs last year, accounting for more than three-quarters of the value of new listings. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 29 June 2021

Riyadh awaits IPO tsunami

Riyadh awaits IPO tsunami
  • Up to 30 companies in talks to launch listings by the end of this year

DUBAI: The Capital Market Authority (CMA) on Monday approved a request by Arabian Internet and Communications Services Co. (STC Solutions) to float a 20 percent stake as part of an initial public offering (IPO).

The STC Solutions approval remains valid for six months from June 28. On the same day, the CMA also approved applications from Banan Real Estate Co. and Canadian Medical Center Co. to register shares for a listing on the Nomu Parallel Market.

Monday’s announcements come as anecdotal evidence indicates that there is a veritable tsunami of IPOs lined up for Tadawul later this year.

“It’s unprecedented. From September onwards they will be coming thick and fast,” said one financial consultant who asked not to be named.

Anecdote aside, it appears to be part of a growing trend of Saudi dominance of regional new equity issues. Tadawul was the venue of choice for regional IPOs last year, accounting for more than three quarters of the value of new listings. In the first quarter of 2020, even though the overall values of IPOs were well down on last year, that proportion grew to a staggering 98 percent, accounted for by two big Riyadh listings — Alkhorayef Water and Power and Thebe Rentacar.

That looks set to be overtaken by the flood of listings on Tadawul in the second half. 

Mazin Al-Sudairi, head of research at Riyadh investment bank Al Rajhi Capital, told Arab News: “We don’t know the numbers for sure — there are so many we have not been able to quantify it.”

The anonymous financial consultant said he was aware of 30 companies talking to the Capital Markets Authority, the stock market regulator, with a view to getting a slot for an IPO later this year. “Of course, some might not make it, but even so it looks roughly like an IPO per week in Riyadh from September onwards,” he added.

In comparison the other big financial market in the region — the UAE — is much further down the curve.  

The recent decision by the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala to float its satellite business Yahsat will be the first IPO since 2017. In Dubai, the trend seems to be the other way, with several big quoted companies seeking to delist their shares.

Why should this be happening now in Riyadh? There appears to be a confluence of benign factors that make this a good time for Saudi private companies to be looking to sell shares.

First, valuations are historically high on Tadawul. The index hit a multi-year high on the back of post-pandemic economic recovery and rising oil prices, and valuations are around 35 times earnings, much more than regional rivals.

The Saudi market has always been the biggest and most liquid in the region, while Saudi citizens and residents — a big target in any retail tranche of forthcoming offerings — have accumulated investable capital during the lockdown months.

At the same time, the private equity industry in the Kingdom has matured, and some big investments are ready for exit. “More family businesses and entrepreneurs have got bigger and are more aware of the attractions of public-listed status, like governance and succession,” said Al-Sudairi.

Finally, there is the background of economic diversification underway in the Kingdom as part of its Vision 2030 strategy. This seeks to encourage the private sector, a natural breeding ground for IPOs.

The government took the lead in the market flotation process with the historic 2019 IPO of Saudi Aramco, which has encouraged others to explore equity markets as a fundraising source. “There are a lot of companies flourishing outside the government sector, in internet and e-commerce for example, that are potentially very interesting for investors,” said Tarek Fadlallah, chief executive of Nomura Asset Management in the Middle East.

Who is leading the charge to IPO in Riyadh? Some have already declared their interest, like the internet services arm of telecom giant STC, which earlier this year said it was considering a plan to float shares on Tadawul. There have also been recent reports that Bahraini telecom group Batelco was considering the possibility of a dual listing of shares in Manama and Riyadh, in what would be a first for the region.

And, of course, there is Tadawul itself. Plans are advanced to float its own shares, possibly by the end of the year, in a milestone event for the exchange and for the Saudi financial industry.


Oil still hovers above $70 with US shut-in output: Market wrap

Oil still hovers above $70 with US shut-in output: Market wrap
Updated 16 September 2021

Oil still hovers above $70 with US shut-in output: Market wrap

Oil still hovers above $70 with US shut-in output: Market wrap
  • Brent crude was down 54 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $74.92 per barrel, while WTI slipped by 67 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $71.94

RIYADH: Oil prices are still trading at above $70 even as OPEC+ is increasing production and data showed today that Saudi oil exports are on the rise, due to the impact of hurricanes Nicholas and Ida on US offshore production.

Brent crude was down 54 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $74.92 per barrel, while WTI slipped by 67 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $71.94 after climbing to the highest since Aug. 2 on Wednesday.

US Gulf energy companies have been able to restore pipeline service and electricity quickly after Hurricane Nicholas passed through Texas early this week, allowing them to focus on efforts to repair the damage caused weeks earlier by Hurricane Ida.

Qatar Petroleum set official prices for the sale of Al-Shaheen crude, during November, at the lowest price premium in 5 months.

Sale prices for Qatari crude shipments came next November with an average premium of $1.53 a barrel to Dubai prices. 

Libya

Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) said Thursday that exports had resumed from several oil terminals in the country's east after young protesters demanding jobs ended blockades there.

"Announcing the resumption of crude oil export operations at the ports of Al-Sidra and Ras Lanuf after a group of young people ended their sit-in inside the ports, which lasted for days," Libya's National Oil Corporation NOC said in a statement.

Russian ESPO oil prices at 21-month high

A rebound in China's crude demand has pushed up prices of a Russian grade popular with Chinese independent refiners to the highest in 21 months, several trade sources said on Thursday.

Russia's Surgutneftegaz sold three cargoes of ESPO crude loading in November at premiums of $4.10-$4.20 a barrel to Dubai quotes, the sources said, the highest since January 2020.

Malaysia

Exports of Malaysia's flagship crude oil Kimanis will fall in October and November following a production issue at an offshore oilfield operated by Royal Dutch Shell, three sources with knowledge of the matter said to Reuters.

Petroleum Brunei, one of the stakeholders, cancelled a tender to sell a Kimanis crude cargo that was supposed to load in early November because of the problem, one of the sources told the agency.


TASI ends the week with slight increase, Nomu edges down

TASI ends the week with slight increase, Nomu edges down
Updated 16 September 2021

TASI ends the week with slight increase, Nomu edges down

TASI ends the week with slight increase, Nomu edges down
  • Shares of 81 companies increased, while those of 105 companies declined

RIYADH: The Saudi stocks index, TASI, ended the last trading of the week with an increase of 11.13 points, or 0.10 percent, and closed at 11,422.11 points.

The parallel market index, Nomu, fell today, by 189.35 points, or 0.74 percent, it closed at 25,369.09 points.

Liquidity in Nomu amounted to about 42.6 million riyals,  328.1 million shares were traded , in 1460 thousand deals .

Liquidity in the main market TASI amounted to about 10.2 billion riyals, which is the highest in more than two months, 223.1 million shares were traded, in 300 thousand deals.

Shares of 81 companies increased, while those of 105 companies declined.

Nine of the 21 market sectors rose, led by public utilities by 1.3 percent, capital goods by 1.1 percent, and food retailing by 0.7 percent, while the remaining 12 sectors fell, led by media and entertainment by 4.5 percent, pharmaceuticals by 1.4 percent, communications by 1.2 percent, and investment, finance, and insurance by 0.8 percent.

The biggest gainers on Thursday were Textile with 5.6 percent increase, PCI with 4.6 percent, SABIC Agri-Nutrients with 4.3 percent, Fitness Time with 4.2 percent, and Chemanol with 3.6 percent.

The biggest losers were research and media by 4.8 percent, Al-Naqoul and the Kingdom by 4.4 percent, Bupa by 3.7 percent, food development by 2.4 percent, construction by 2.2 percent, and Mobily by 1.9 percent.

Theeb Rent a Car Company announced Thursday the distribution of SR22 million as interim cash dividends to shareholders for the first half of 2021.


Cinema chain AMC confirms plan to accept cryptocurrencies: Market wrap

Cinema chain AMC confirms plan to accept cryptocurrencies: Market wrap
Updated 16 September 2021

Cinema chain AMC confirms plan to accept cryptocurrencies: Market wrap

Cinema chain AMC confirms plan to accept cryptocurrencies: Market wrap
  • Bitcoin, the leading international cryptocurrency, traded lower on Thursday, falling by 0.42 percent to $47,617.84

RIYADH: AMC Entertainment, the world's most popular film exhibition company, has announced its plan to accept cryptocurrencies in its 950 theaters by the end of the year.

AMC CEO Adam Aron tweeted Wednesday: “Cryptocurrency enthusiasts: you likely know AMC has announced that we will accept Bitcoin for online ticket and concession payments by year-end 2021. I can confirm today that when we do so, we also expect that we similarly will accept Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin cash.”

Other crypro news:

SkyBridge Capital, the investment firm founded by former aide to Donald Trump Anthony Scaramucci, has submitted an application for a crypto-trading fund (ETF), with the aim of providing investors with a capital appreciation.

According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the ‘First Trust SkyBridge Crypto Industry and Digital Economy ETF’ is seeking to list and trade its shares on the NYSE Arca Stock Exchange.

Scaramucci announced a new Algorand fund during the star-studded "SALT" hedge fund conference, which included the likes of Ray Dalio, Steven Cohen and Mike Novogratz.

“SkyBridge now has about $700 million in crypto. We are starting the Alogrand fund,  we are capping that fund at $250 million, and we have already raised $100 million for that fund.” Scaramucci said in an interview with CNBC Wednesday.

In Turkey, the Central Bank of Turkey has created a new platform with technology stakeholders to further develop a digital version of the national fiat currency.

The Central Bank of Turkey also entered into agreements with two defense and technology companies, as well as the Scientific and Technological Research Council, and the Informatics and Information Security Research Center to cooperate on the digital lira project, the state-run Anadolu Agency and Daily Sabah reported.

In the United States, at a hearing of the US Senate Banking Committee, Senator Elizabeth Warren asked the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler, to increase oversight of cryptocurrency.

She flagged up several issues that she linked to cryptocurrencies that she felt could harm small investors.

Bitcoin, the leading international cryptocurrency, traded lower on Thursday, falling by 0.42 percent to $47,617.84 at 5:55 p.m Riyadh time. 

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, went in the opposite direction, trading up by 3.92 percent at $3,585.47, according to data from Coindesk.


Remittances from Egyptians abroad hit an all-time high despite the pandemic

Remittances from Egyptians abroad hit an all-time high despite the pandemic
Updated 16 September 2021

Remittances from Egyptians abroad hit an all-time high despite the pandemic

Remittances from Egyptians abroad hit an all-time high despite the pandemic

The Central Bank of Egypt announced that remittances from Egyptians abroad rose to their highest ever annual level last year even as the pandemic weighed on economic activities worldwide.

The bank’s data revealed that money from Egyptians working abroad during the fiscal year 2020-2021 saw a 13.2 percent rise — or about $3.7 billion — compared to the 2019-2020.

The Central Bank of Egypt added that the payments amounted to about $31.4 billion, compared to about $27.8 billion dollars in the previous 12 months.

During June, money from Egyptians abroad also witnessed an annual increase of 15.5 percent, about $2.9 billion, compared to about $2.6 billion in June 2020.

Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala Al-Saeed said one of the objectives of his government's economic development plan include increasing money from Egyptians working abroad to about $30 billion, compared to $25.2 billion in 2018-2019, according to data issued by the Ministry of Planning.


New Saudi committee tasked to regulate foreign investments as Kingdom opens up

New Saudi committee tasked to regulate foreign investments as Kingdom opens up
Updated 16 September 2021

New Saudi committee tasked to regulate foreign investments as Kingdom opens up

New Saudi committee tasked to regulate foreign investments as Kingdom opens up
  • Chaired by the investment minister, the new committee will also set the limit for foreign ownership in local companies

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has formed a new committee to regulate foreign investments and protect the Kingdom's critical sectors such as utilities.

The committee is tasked to create and implement a criterion for foreign investors, identifying a list of companies, individuals, and activities excluded from foreign investment, Argaam reported, citing a cabinet's decision.

Chaired by the investment minister, the new committee will also set the limit for foreign ownership in local companies.

“The setup of this committee is a sagacious decision which reflects the fast pace of change in the economic structure with the participation from foreign investors,” Mohammed Al-Suwayed, chief of Razeen Capital, said.

The committee comes as more foreign entities take an interest in entering the Saudi market as part of the government’s push to modernize its economy.

Saudi analyst Al-Suwayed said: “The committee is made to deal with the implications of national security and national resources including natural and critical types of resources.”

He said the decision to create the committee will protect the Kingdom from “broader political risk” if critical services such as utilities are controlled by foreign businessmen.

“Businessmen in Saudi have more access to public policymaking than any other stakeholders, and after allowing foreign businessmen to join the boards of Commercial Chambers, they're expecting to enjoy the same access and influence policymaking as well,” he explained.

Ministers of commerce, economy, planning, communications and information technology, heads of the Local Content Authority and the Capital Market Authority will also be part of the committee.