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Mon 20 Oct 2008 07:35 AM

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Up to 80 Saudi firms delay IPO plan - report

Current market uncertainty prompts companies in kingdom to postpone shares sale.

Up to 80 companies have postponed IPO plans in Saudi Arabia amid the current stock market uncertainty caused by the global economic crisis.

The companies have postponed plans to offer shares to the public and raise capital of up to $18 billion, market sources told the Saudi Gazette on Monday.

The firms include Saudi Arabian Airlines, Saudi Railways Organisation, Al-Tayyar Travel, Al-Rabea Foods and Zamil Holding Company, the paper said.

In the first nine months of the year, 13 IPOs raised a total of $9.7 billion.

On Sunday, the Saudi stock market, the largest in the region, was the main loser in the Gulf, with the Tadawul All-Shares Index (TASI) dropping 3.8 percent with market leader, petrochemicals giant Sabic, shedding 8.7 percent after announcing on Saturday a lower than expected eight percent rise in nine-months profit.

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