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Saudi healthcare group Fakeeh weighs IPO

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Saudi Arabia’s Fakeeh Care, one of the largest private hospital groups in the kingdom, is considering selling a 30 percent stake through an initial public offering (IPO), two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The family-owned business, with hospitals in Jeddah and Riyadh, has appointed HSBC to advise on the deal, said the sources, declining to be named as the matter is not public.

Fakeeh Care did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by Reuters on Sunday. HSBC declined to comment.

The group opened its first hospital, named after its late founder Dr. Soliman Fakeeh, in 1978.

The company has a total bed capacity of over 1,400 with over 1,000 doctors and 2,000 nurses, according to its website.

Riyadh has been encouraging more family-owned companies to list in a bid to deepen its capital markets as part of reforms aimed at reducing the country’s reliance on oil revenue.

The Saudi Exchange, the largest and most liquid stock market in the Arab world, has seen a surge of listings from the healthcare sector in the last three years, including hospitals group Dr Sulaiman Al Habib, pharmaceutical group Al Nahdi Medical Co and generic drugmaker Jamjoom Pharmaceuticals Factory Co.

Saudi Arabia has allocated SAR189 billion ($50.4 billion) in its 2023 budget to health and social development, a joint second alongside education as the biggest expenditure for the country following the military.

Companies in the Middle East have raised $5.3 billion in the first half of this year, the most in 15 years with the exception last year, according to Refinitiv data, which was a standout year for IPOs.