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Saudi IPOs set for record year as H1 listings surpass entire of 2021: CMA chairman

RIYADH: Saudi initial public offerings are on course for a record year, as the number of listings in the first half of 2022 has already surpassed those of last year, according to the chairman of the Capital Market Authority.

“Undoubtedly, the number of IPOs we have for listing and offering is the largest that it has been,” Mohammed Elkuwaiz told Arab News.

Speaking at a fintech event in Riyadh on July 26, Elkuwaiz added: “We already exceeded the number of IPOs we had last year, and we think the number will likely get even bigger.”

The Saudi Stock Exchange, also known as Tadawul, has recorded 17 initial share sales, generating proceeds amounting to $5.07 billion in the first half of the year.

This number is up from 15 offerings, raising almost $5 billion during the whole of 2021.

Tadawul dominated the Gulf Cooperation Council in IPOs last year, with utility provider ACWA Power marking the region’s largest share sale after its float generated as much as $1.21 billion.

This year’s biggest IPOs were pharma chain operator Nahdi Medical Co., Public Investment Fund’s digital security firm Elm Co., and Aldawaa Medical Services Co.

Nahdi topped the list with a $1.36 billion IPO on Saudi Arabia’s main market, followed by Elm with $819 million in proceeds. Aldawaa raised almost $500 million.

On Tuesday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said he expects NEOM to sell shares to the public in 2024, adding nearly SR1 trillion ($266 billion) to the market.

Speaking to reporters after unveiling The Line’s designs, the city in NEOM, the Crown Prince added that all companies owned by the PIF would be listed on the stock market in the future, which will help it become one of the top three largest stock markets on the planet.

Fintech push

The enthusiasm in the stock markets has also widened the scope of financial technologies. 

It is only since 2018 that deals in the fintech sector have taken off, and today it is one of the first in the venture capital investments space in terms of the number of deals.

“Despite the increase in the number of fintech companies, which reached 82 companies at the end of 2021, the pace of growth is less than what we see in other countries,” said Elkuwaiz, while adding that the Kingdom ranks 36 out of 63 countries in the Digital Competitiveness Index.

Saudi Arabia is poised to match pace with other countries thanks to the authorities’ financial reforms and initiatives.

“We launched a fintech strategy lately that aspires to reach four times the number of companies that exist today by 2030 and to generate four times more jobs than currently,” added Elkuwaiz.

The strategy aims to increase the sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product by 13 times by 2030.