Home Business Barclays weighs Saudi re-entry amid capital markets boom – sources

Barclays weighs Saudi re-entry amid capital markets boom – sources

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Barclays is exploring a

return to Saudi Arabia in a bid to capture a slice of the

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country’s burgeoning capital markets, two people close to the

matter told Reuters.

The British bank is looking at securing a license in the

kingdom to be able to manage deals including initial public

offerings (IPOs), the people said, speaking on the condition of

anonymity.

They added the deliberations were at an early stage and no

final decision has been made.

Barclays declined to comment while a representative for

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Saudi Arabia’s Capital Markets Authority did not respond to a

request for comment.

The bank gave up its Saudi licenses in 2014 amid a global

retreat of its investment banking operations under then-chief

executive Antony Jenkins.

The bank is authorized to operate in the Dubai Financial

Centre and Qatar, but in its latest annual strategic report it

said it aimed to “selectively expand” its investment banking

presence in the Middle East.

Barclays earned about 70% of 2021 pre-tax profit from

corporate and investment banking activities, including trading,

advisory and transaction banking.

The Middle East has been a bright spot of activity in an

otherwise gloomy year for equity capital markets. Companies have

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raised some $21.9 billion through IPOs in the area in 2022, more

than half the total for the wider EMEA region, which also

includes Europe and Africa, according to Dealogic data.

In particular, Saudi Arabia has witnessed a string of IPOs

amid a government-led privatization program that has also seen

state entities shed some of their holdings in listed firms,

encouraging local companies and family businesses to go public.

On Dec. 11, oil refiner Luberef priced its $1.3 billion

share offer at the top of the initial price range on the back of

strong investor demand.

The following day, restaurant operator Americana began

trading on the Riyadh and Abu Dhabi bourses after a successful

$1.8 billion dual listing.

In 2021, Barclays ranked among the top 10 bookrunners of

share sales worldwide, according to Dealogic data compiled by

the Wall Street Journal.

Its latest quarterly report showed a more than 80% drop in

equity capital markets income in the first nine months of 2022

from the same period last year amid a global drop in IPO

issuance.

(Reporting by Pablo Mayo Cerqueiro and Hadeel Al Sayegh

Editing by Tomasz Janowski)

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