Saudi Arabia's billionaire family plans local listing

KSA plans to almost double the size of its stock market by attracting privately owned firms

(FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)

(FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia’s billionaire Olayan family, Credit Suisse Group AG’s largest shareholder, is considering selling shares in some of its local assets, according to a company spokesman.

Olayan Financing Co., which controls the family’s investments in the Middle East, may offer shares in one or more of its operating companies to the public, the spokesman said by email. Olayan Financing manages more than 40 companies in the Middle East, including the regional Burger King franchise, according to its website.

The company is also considering setting up a holding company for some of its assets and may take that public, according to people familiar with the plans. Olayan Financing is already in talks with potential financial advisers for the potential offering, which could happen as early as 2018, the people said, asking not to be identified as talks are private. Final decisions on which entities may be listed haven’t been made and the plans could change, they said.

Olayan Group, which manages the family’s international business, is Credit Suisse’s largest shareholder with a 5.1 percent stake, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Founded by Suliman Olayan in 1947, the business was valued at more than $10 billion based on disclosed equity holdings, property investments and three of its closely-held businesses, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index in 2015.

The planned IPO would be the first time Olayan Financing has sold shares in one of its Saudi businesses since at least 2000, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The group also owns global real estate assets including 550 Madison Avenue in New York City, the Knightsbridge Estate in central London and residential buildings in Paris’s 8th arrondissement, according to its website.

Saudi Arabia plans to almost double the size of its stock market by attracting privately owned firms to list and selling shares in government entities, Mohammed Al Jadaan, the former chairman of the kingdom’s Capital Market Authority, said last April. There were only two IPOs in Saudi Arabia last year, which raised $274 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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