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Energy

Saudi Arabia's IPO pipeline looks 'quite busy': CMA chairman

FILE PHOTO: An oil tanker is being loaded at Saudi Aramco's Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in Saudi Arabia May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

DUBAI/RIYADH (Reuters) - Since Aramco’s record listing last year, Saudi Arabia has seen a big increase in the number of companies looking to make their stock market debut in the kingdom, according to the head of the Capital Market Authority (CMA).

There are currently 15 applications for new listings in the Saudi stock market, the region’s largest bourse, CMA chairman Mohammed bin Abdullah Elkuwaiz said.

“It looks quite busy over the upcoming period,” he said.

The Saudi stock market (Tadawul) saw five IPOs in 2019, including oil giant Saudi Aramco, its biggest ever IPO and the largest in history.

“We have seen eight new listings since the beginning of the year despite the pandemic. We also currently have over 15 applications we are currently reviewing for listing whether in the main market or the (parallel) Nomu market,” he said.

The world’s top oil exporter is encouraging companies to list in the kingdom in a bid to deepen its capital markets under reforms aimed at reducing its reliance on crude.

The Tadawul opened to foreign investors in 2015 and there have been a raft of reforms to attract overseas capital to diversify the oil-dependent economy.

In October, sources told Reuters that Saudi Telecom Co (STC) had hired banks to arrange a potential initial sale of shares in its product and services development arm, Solutions by STC.

Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh and Marwa Rashad; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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