KSA $300b sell-off moves slowly

4 December, 2017 12:00 AM printer

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's $300-billion privatisation programme was billed as the sale of the century when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveiled his plan to great fanfare. Nineteen months later, it is moving at a snail's pace, bankers, investors and analysts familiar with the process say.

The main problems they cite are heavy bureaucracy, an inadequate legal framework, frequent changes of priority in government departments and fatigue among investors, reports The Business Standard.

Some also blame a wait-and-see approach among many investors due to uncertainty about the fallout from an anti-corruption campaign in which dozens of royal family members, ministers and senior officials were rounded up in early November.

The centrepiece listing of state oil company Saudi Aramco - expected alone to raise up to $100 billion - is on track to go ahead next year, Prince Mohammed told Reuters in October. However, Riyadh has yet to select any exchange abroad that will handle - along with the Saudi market - what would be the biggest share flotation in history.