Saudi Arabia’s Stock Exchange Seeks Foreign Investors

Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange wants to lure more foreign investors and raise foreign ownership by 25 percent.

According to an interview in Bloomberg, Saudi’s stock market Chief Executive Al Hussan said it has some 120 registered Qualified Foreign Investors (QFI), and the exchange is currently reviewing 180 more applications for QFI.

“It will be great if one day our 49 percent foreign-investor limit is challenged, but ideally we will be satisfied if in the next two years or more we have about 20 to 25 percent foreign ownership in our markets. We are telling global investors that our markets are open and are consistently encouraging them to invest with us,” he said.

Tadawul is also preparing to host the IPO of Saudi Arabia’s oil giant Aramco in late 2018. Officials say that Aramco could be worth up to US$2 trillion, and listing 5 percent of it could fetch US$100 billion if the valuation is legitimate. 

“The Saudi stock exchange has a long track record of attracting successful IPOs,” Hussan said. “The question of timing and other matters with the Aramco listing lies with the issuer, but from our side we are prepared for it.”

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