Saudi Arabia wooing Asian investors for stock market; top officials, 14 companies executives to tour Singapore and Hong Kong

BE2C2 Report — Top officials and executives of around 14 companies from the Kingdom plan to embark on a roadshow which will take them to Singapore and Hong Kong (Asia’s financial hub) next month to attract Asian investors in its $439 billion stock exchange “Tadawul”, banking sources told Reuters on Thursday.

The companies include Saudi Basic Industries Corp, the kingdom’s largest company by market value, Al Rajhi Bank, its largest Islamic bank, and other banks including Saudi British Bank (SABB), Banque Saudi Fransi and Samba Financial Group, according to one of the sources.

The officials and companies, which will also include Savola Group, its largest food products company, and Saudi Arabian Mining Company, will meet around 100 investors during the trip.

Organized by the HSBC Saudi Arabia Investment Forum, the tour will include stops in Singapore on March 1-2 and Hong Kong on March 3, the sources said.

The trip reflects the rising importance of Asia for Riyadh, which sends the bulk of its oil exports to Asian markets.

Two similar trips organized by JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley were held this autumn in New York and London, respectively. Both these firms including HBC are expected to play lead roles in Saudi Aramco IPO next year expected to yield $100 billion on 5% Aramco stake offering to the public.

Aramco executives will not be part of next month’s trip, although bankers have told Reuters a listing in Asia is likely.

Saudi Arabia has brought in new rules to make it easier for foreigners to invest in its stock exchange, most recently permitting foreign institutional investors to buy shares directly in initial public offers.

Saudi Stock Exchange’s Chief Executive Khalid al-Hussan, a senior Capital Market Authority official and officials from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency and Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority will be on the trip, one of the sources said.

A Tadawul spokesman confirmed the attendance of Tadawul and CMA executives at the forum without elaborating.

Under sweeping economic reforms (Vision 2030) announced last year and designed to reduce Saudi Arabia’s reliance on oil exports, the government plans in the coming years to offer shares in a wide range of firms.

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