Saudi's Kingdom Holding has raised $1bln in debt finance, to invest mainly in local market - CEO

The investment firm will also decide on the local real estate assets to be monetised within three months

  
The Kingdom Tower is seen in Central Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Image used for illustrative purpose.

The Kingdom Tower is seen in Central Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Peter Macdiarmid

Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding has just raised $1 billion through international and domestic banks, and the firm is planning to decide on how to monetise its local real estate assets, with a decision due within three months, its chief executive said at a conference held in Abu Dhabi today.

“We have just signed term sheets for $1 billion with three international banks and two local banks,” Talal Ibrahim Al-Maiman, CEO of Kingdom Holding Company, said.

“2019 has been great to us. We’ve done the Careem deal; Lyft is going public; so we’ve made huge returns… the full power is ready to be employed into the local market mainly, but we’ll also keep the door open for potential international investments,” he said.

On the firm’s priorities as to where it plans to invest locally, he said that it is interested in companies that the Saudi government is about to privatise. He added that the the government is also about to sell part of what it owns in already listed companies that Kingdom Holding is interested in.

“And the bigger part is in the family businesses, which really need institutionalisation and corporate governance,” he noted.

In April last year, Saudi Arabia announced the official launch of the nation’s Privatisation Program (NCP), with the initiative targeting 14 public-private partnership (PPP) investments worth between $6.4 billion-$7.5 billion. (Read more here).

Monetising assets

Founded by Saudi billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal who remains the chairman of the company, the investment giant purchased stakes in prominent global entities such as Twitter, Snapchat, Disney, Citigroup and Uber’s rival Lyft, among others.

The firm now has a stake in Uber, after the acquisition of Dubai-based ride-hailing app Careem. Kingdom Holding sold its Careem stake for $333 million. (Read more here).

The firm’s CEO told the Bloomberg Invest Abu Dhabi Summit on Wednesday that it is looking to monetise some of its domestic assets.

“We would like to monetise on the real estate part. It’s about time that we monetise part of it, especially the income-generating ones. So we’re thinking about some kind of a monetisation programme to our real estate in Saudi Arabia,” Al-Maiman said.

On whether this will include international assets, he said: “We review everything, all the assets that we have, but the main focus on monetisation today is on our local, domestic assets.”

Al-Maiman added that the firm is weighing up a number of options for these assets, including IPOs, REITs, redevelopment or asset sales.

(Reporting by Nada Al-Rifai; Editing by Michael Fahy)

(nada.rifai@refinitiv.com)

© ZAWYA 2019

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