(Adds comments on Aramco, debt issuance)
By Tom Arnold, Saeed Azhar and Hadeel Al Sayegh
DUBAI, April 17 Saudi Arabia's privatisation
drive is likely to result in around 100 new stock market
listings in sectors including mining, healthcare and retail, a
top HSBC executive said on Monday.
Georges Elhedery, HSBC's chief executive for the Middle East
and North Africa, did not give a time frame for the listings but
said they were part of Saudi plans to diversify its economy
beyond oil by 2030.
Close to 180 companies are already listed on the Saudi
market and HSBC is advising the stock exchange on its planned
listing of its own shares, while industry sources have told
Reuters that the bank will play a key advisory role in the
upcoming listing of national oil giant Saudi Aramco.
"We are talking, up to possible 100 IPOs (or) 100 entities
to be listed on the stock exchange in Saudi Arabia," Elhedery
said at an event marking the 150th anniversary of Thomson
Reuters in the region.
Elhedery said the planned listing of a "jewel" like Aramco
is a strong example of Saudi Arabia's commitment to the
Aramco is gearing up for a 5 percent share listing next
year, aiming to get a valuation of up to $2 trillion in what
could be the world's biggest initial public
Although Aramco has not made a decision yet on the
international venue for the IPO, Gulf Capital's co-founder Karim
El Solh said at the same event on Monday that he expected it to
be New York "given the size (and) the nature of the industry".
Global exchanges such as the London Stock Exchange
are pitching to win a slice of Aramco's IPO, which HSBC's
Elhedery said would generate huge demand from strategic
investors regardless of where it is listed.
In recent weeks, Chinese oil firms PetroChina,
and Sinopec Corp have both shown interest
in the Aramco IPO.
Elhedery also said the region's debt capital market issuance
this year was likely to exceed last year's record of more than
Richad Soundardjee, head of Middle East for Societe Generale
, said that the region is "on a good track to beat the
2016 record" of issuance but noted that there has been a lot of
"front loading" in the first quarter.
That meant companies taking advantage of good market
conditions and coming to market to refinance debt which is still
some time away from maturing.
Soundardjee also said that diversification of sources of
funding and currencies will have a positive impact for the
region, referring to the emerging of structured finance
solutions and export credit agency-backed financing.
(Additional reporting by Davide Barbuscia; editing by Alexander