Some 60 per cent of the shares on offer in the petrochemicals firm had been taken up by investors by the third day of the IPO.

The offer opened on 5 January and will last for a week. The shares have been priced at SR21 ($5.6) each and demand has been strong from both retail and institutional investors, say analysts.

“If there is a lot of retail demand they might cut down on the institutional portion,” says John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Sabb, one of the two main underwriters on the deal along with Riyad Bank. HSBC is the lead manager on the issue.

As with other share issues in the kingdom, the offering is only open to local investors. The Capital Market Authority has yet to reveal more details on its plans to allow mutual funds which would give foreign investors access to IPOs in the kingdom. Despite the restrictions, many more IPOs are expected to be launched in the coming months.