Carlyle-backed General Lighting plans Saudi share sale

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General Lighting Co, a Saudi Arabian company part-owned by Carlyle Group, plans to sell its shares on the Saudi stock market, paving the way for the private equity firm to exit its stake, two sources said.

General Lighting is the largest lighting company in Saudi Arabia and Carlyle acquired its 30 percent stake in the firm for an undisclosed amount in March 2010.

Washington D.C.-based Carlyle, which had assets under management of $176 billion at the end of March, has hired Riyadh-based GIB Capital and law firm Latham & Watkins to help arrange the initial public offering (IPO), the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter is not public.

Saudi Arabia is the largest Gulf Arab stock market and the only bourse in the region where initial share sales have been active in the last few years.

Companies in Saudi Arabia generally offer 30 percent of their capital in IPO. A spokeswoman for Carlyle in London declined to comment. Dow Jones newswire reported the IPO filing plan earlier in the day.

Carlyle raised $500 million in 2007 for its debut fund in the region. The fund now has stakes in six companies in its portfolio, including Turkish lingerie and swim wear maker Penti and Jordanian firm Nabil Foods, which the firm bought in May.

It has not exited any of its investments in the region so far. Carlyle owns a 40-percent stake in Turkish hospitals group Medical Park and London-based private equity fund Pamplona Capital Management is in exclusive talks to buy a majority stake in the firm, a source close to the matter told Reuters in April.

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