Jordanian investors to buy Saudi Oger bank stake

06 December 2016

Saudi Oger debt negotiations hit obstacle

A consortium of Jordanian investors is now expected to acquire Saudi Oger’s share in the Amman-based Arab Bank, Reuters has reported.

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hokair Group is understood to have dropped its acquisition bid.

Local investors led by Arab Bank’s chairman Sabih al-Masri are in advanced talks for the 19.8 per cent stake in the bank, according to Reuters. They are expected to pay a consideration based on the share price, which was JD6.06 when trading on the Amman Stock Exchange closed on 5 December.

This would value the 127 million Saudi Oger shares, as of the end of 2015, at around JD770m ($1086m).

Arab Bank is the largest bank in Jordan with assets of $49.2bn as of September 2016, and has a strong international profile.

Saudi Oger, owned by Lebanon’s Hariri family, is selling stakes in Arab Bank, and Dubai-based Oger Telecom to meet debt obligations in Saudi Arabia.

Its contracting business in Saudi Arabia reportedly owes around SR13bn ($3.5bn) to banks, and more to employees and other businesses.

A major creditor, Saudi Arabia’s Samba Financial Group, is denying a freeze on the debt that would allow Saudi Oger to renegotiate its bank obligations, according to Bloomberg. The bank has begun legal action to recover money owed by the contractor.

MEED reported in August that Samba’s share of the Saudi Oger debt was SR1.5bn, the second largest after National Commercial Bank.

Saudi Oger was seeking extensions to complete the stake sales and receive delayed government payments, in order to raise funds for repayments.

Over SR100bn of delayed payments in Saudi Arabia have caused major cashflow problems at contractors including Saudi Oger and Saudi Binladin Group. The government is now understood to have restarted payments.

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