News Saudi Arabia leads Q1 IPO activity in MENA: EY report

RIYADH: Saudi Tadawul Group finds itself in a “fortunate” position amid the Kingdom’s rapidly growing industries, said a senior executive.   

On the sidelines of the Capital Market Forum 2024 held in Hong Kong, Nayef Al-Athel, group chief of sales and marketing officer at Tadawul Group, highlighted the company’s aim to attract global investors by sharing compelling success stories at international forums.  

Speaking to Arab News, Al-Athel explained the dual nature of the group’s goals, emphasizing commercial targets focused on maximizing revenues as a listed company.   

He said: “I think we are very fortunate as a capital markets group, fortunate in the sense that a lot is going on in the Kingdom. There’s unbelievable momentum in various facets of this country, and we are fortunate to be at the juncture of spillover from all these industries and all these new sectors being unraveled and unveiled in Saudi Arabia.”   

Al-Athel added: “The story of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is very attractive, and that attraction then translates to us being very attractive as a capital market.”  

Additionally, he emphasized Saudi Arabia’s geographic and time zone position, acting as a bridge between the East and West.   

“If you take that from a geographical standpoint, time zone perspective, that can be straightforwardly translated into capital markets narratives of connecting East to West,” Al-Athel said.   

He added: “If you look at the conference that we’re in here at CMF Hong Kong, it’s literally an attempt, which we think is very successful of us, connecting East to West.” 

Commenting on his statement from the previous CMF in February held in Riyadh, Al-Athel explained how Tadawul Group is at the forefront of global capital market leaders. 

“We are a top 10 stock exchange when it comes to market cap, to continue to propel ourselves high incomes to market cap rankings. That, of course, means more IPOs and more capital market transactions, more interest from investors all over the world,” he said.

Al-Athel further explained that the group’s success is building itself as an equity capital market powerhouse in Saudi Arabia, particularly through a significant number of IPOs in recent years. There’s a focus on expanding into debt capital markets and derivatives to diversify their offerings.  

“We’ve worked hard on building ourselves as an equity capital market powerhouse. The number of IPOs has been staggering over the last three to four years in the Kingdom,” Al-Athel stated. 

However, he mentioned that there are currently no specific announcements to make. 

“We’re living in a very exciting situation as we speak, hosting 300 investors from 44 companies at the Capital Market Forum in Hong Kong,” said Al-Athel, adding that it’s the first cross-border capital market event, with participation from entities in Saudi such as the CMA and the Ministry of Investment. 

He continued: “This is the flavor of where we are at the moment. This is where we are focused. Again, for sure there will be activity in the foreseeable future.” 

Furthermore, Al-Athel mentioned that the group has celebrated 400 securities listed on Tadawul.  

“Among those 400 listed securities, we find many success stories, and those success stories do sell themselves internationally. We have more than 22 companies traveling with us to Hong Kong, and the sole purpose of those companies, the Saudi corporates, is to tell their success stories to investors from Asia. 

Al-Athel concluded his statement by highlighting the significant transformation undergone by the capital market, particularly with the achievement of 400 listed securities and a diverse investor base spanning Saudi Arabia, the region, and globally. 

He noted that the rise in institutional investment and increasing numbers of IPOs signal a healthy market environment. 

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