Saudi Arabia’s Civil Aviation Holding Company is considering an equity sale for a minority stake in Riyadh Airport Company, the firm operating King Khalid International airport in Riyadh.

This development appears to indicate that an initial public offering (IPO) has been ruled out.

According to sources with knowledge of the transaction, the potential equity buyers need not be airport operators.

Firms such as Turkey’s TAV have earlier told MEED of their interest in potentially acquiring shares in the airport company.

MEED understands that Civil Aviation Holding and the transaction adviser, US-based Goldman Sachs, are still finalising details of the planned equity sale, including the size and value of shares to be offered.

King Khalid International airport is the kingdom’s second-busiest airport. It handled 23.7 million passengers and 354,335 tonnes of cargo in 2016.

The newest of the airport’s five terminals opened in 2016. Terminal 5, which caters to domestic flights, is operated by Dublin Airport Authority (DAA).

The four older terminals are being upgraded and refurbished. A team comprising Turkey’s IC Ictas and the local Al-Rashid Trading & Contracting won a four-year contract to redevelop the four terminals earlier this year.

The renovation works started with Terminal 4, which is unused.

A sixth terminal is to be developed using a public-private partnership (PPP) model once the redevelopment work on the first four terminals has progressed.

The airport is expected to award a second cargo handling contract soon. Saudia Cargo, a subsidiary of the national carrier, currently provides cargo handling services at the airport.