Date announced for Saudi Telecom share offering

21 November 2002

Saudi Telecomwill sell off 30 per cent of its shares in a public offering on 17 December, Finance and Economy Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf announced on 18 November. On the same day the company posted a net profit of $763 million for the first nine months of 2002, which it said represented an 11 per cent increase on the same period in 2001.

The sale of Saudi Telecom shares is expected to raise about $4,000 million and is to be made through the online Tadawul stock exchange (MEED 18:10:02). Saudi British Bank (SBB) will act as the central database manager for the offering, although stock can be bought through any of the banks listed on Tadawul. Financial adviser is Bahrain-based Gulf Investment Bank (GIB). Of the 30 per cent of shares sold, 20 per cent will go to Saudi investors and the remaining 10 per cent will be allocated to the government pension fund. It is the largest share sale by the government since 30 per cent of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic)was divested in 1983, and economists say that it will transform the kingdom's stock market (MEED 18:10:02; 21:6:02). The government has said that the revenues will be used to pay off part of Saudi Arabia's public debt.

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