Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority announced new rules permitting foreign investors to buy shares directly in initial public offerings (IPO). The new policy will take effect at the start of 2017, and could help the government sell billions of dollars in state companies including oil giant Saudi Aramco, Reuters reported.
The government expects to earn as much as $100b by selling 5% of Aramco in an IPO scheduled to take place early 2017. Some of the shares may be offered abroad but they are also expected to be listed on Riyadh’s bourse, according to Oil Price.com.
Before this new rule, non-Saudi institutions could purchase IPOs only on a case-by-case basis, although they could make indirect purchases such as using local IPO funds.
The changes to IPO rules are in line with the kingdom’s previous moves to liberalize the stock market and allow for greater foreign investor participation.