National Commercial Bank, Saudi Arabia’s largest bank by assets, is aiming to raise SR22.5bn ($6bn) in its forthcoming initial public offering (IPO), due to launch in the coming weeks.

The bank is the last Saudi bank to remain unlisted and investor appetite for the offering is expected to be strong. 

“Indications are that the IPO will be the largest on the market capturing broad investor participation. Interest level is high both from retail and institutional investors,” Asim Bukhtiar, head of research at Saudi-based Riyad Capital, tells MEED.

The bank plans to sell 300 million shares to individual Saudi investors, which is equivalent to 15 per cent of the bank’s capital, according to a note on the Saudi Arabian bourse.

A further 200 million shares, the equivalent of 10 per cent of the bank’s capital, will be allocated for subscription by the state-owned Public Pension Agency. The shares are priced at SR45 each.

Subscription is due to open on 19 October and close on 2 November.

There are a number of other Saudi listings in the pipeline, including entities of Saudi Airlines and Saudi Electricity Company.

The long-awaited opening up of the Saudi stock exchange to foreign investors is planned to take place next year. Following this, the exchange could be upgraded to emerging market status on the MSCI index by 2017.

“The prospective weight of Saudi Arabia on emerging markets indices should edge up as a result of large-size listings,” says Bukhtiar.