DUBAI, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Saudi Oger has begun talks with potential buyers for its 20.93 percent stake in Arab Bank in a deal that could raise about $1 billion for the embattled construction giant, sources aware of the matter told Reuters.
A small number of potential buyers from both Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East have started negotiations, five sources said on condition of anonymity because the information had not been made public.
The fall in oil prices and resulting cuts in state spending have weighed heavily on the kingdom’s construction industry and left Oger facing a multibillion-dollar debt restructuring to stave off collapse.
Among the interested parties vying for the Arab Bank stake is Saudi Arabia’s al-Hokair family, two of the sources said.
A spokesman for Saudi Oger, owned by the family of former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
Managing Director Abdulmagid al-Hokair did not respond immediately to calls and a text message, while Hariri’s political offices in Beirut said it was a matter on which only Saudi Oger could comment.
A spokesman for Arab Bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Additional Reporting by Reem Shamseddine in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, and Tom Perry in Beirut; Editing by David Goodman