Saudi airline catering unit IPO seeks $350m
The catering unit of Saudi Arabian Airlines is seeking to raise 1.3 billion riyals ($350 million) by floating 30 percent of its shares, the prospectus showed as the initial public offer opened to retail investors on Monday.
The sale of shares in Saudi Airlines Catering Co has been keenly awaited by investors as the company will be the first part of the Saudi flag carrier, one of the kingdom's largest state-owned entities, to be listed on the stock market.
The company is offering a total of 24.6 million shares. Institutional investors subscribed to 50 percent of them, leaving retail investors to subscribe to the other half between June 18 and 24 at a price of 54 riyals per share, which was determined by a book-building process.
Saudi Arabian Airlines started a process of privatisation in 2006 by splitting into six units: catering, cargo, maintenance, airlines, flight academy and ground handling. It plans to privatise each of the units individually and offer them to the public.
The catering unit initially aimed for a flotation in late 2010, but it ran into delays in securing regulatory approval. Analysts originally estimated the 30 percent stake in the unit might be sold for between $400 million and $540 million.
The listing of the unit will be the fifth in the Saudi stock market this year. Saudi Fransi Capital, the investment arm of Banque Saudi Fransi, has been appointed lead arranger for the IPO and is the issue's co-underwriter along with Saudi Hollandi Capital.