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Alba confirms it is ‘exploring’ listing in Saudi Arabia

Aluminium Bahrain BSC is the first aluminium smelter in the Middle East Alba
Aluminium Bahrain BSC is the first aluminium smelter in the Middle East

Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat is considering a secondary listing of Aluminium Bahrain BSC (Alba) on Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul stock market.

Alba said in a statement to the Bahrain Stock Exchange yesterday it is “exploring various opportunities, one of which is a potential secondary listing on Saudi Arabia’s Stock Exchange which is currently under evaluation along with other value-creation initiatives, as part of the company’s overall business strategy.”

The statement comes a week after Alba denied claims that it is planning to list in Saudi Arabia.

Mumtalakat owns a 69 percent stake in Alba, which accounts for about 12 percent of Bahrain’s GDP, according to the company’s website.

Reuters reported earlier this month that Mumtalakat is working with Moelis & Co. as financial adviser on the potential listing and that Alba has kicked off the process to seek regulatory approvals in Saudi Arabia. 

The listing is reportedly expected by the end of the year or in early 2023.

Alba is the world’s largest aluminium smelter outside China, with a production of more than 1.561 million metric tonnes per annum.

The company posted a record net profit of 452 million Bahraini dinars ($1.2 billion) in 2021, compared to a net profit of 9.8 million dinars the year before, primarily due to the higher price of aluminum in 2021.  

The metal producer is dual listed on the Bahrain Bourse and London Stock Exchange and its main shareholders are Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company BSC (69.38 percent) and SABIC Industrial Investments Company (20.62 percent).

Mumtalakat’s plans come amid a broader Middle Eastern IPO boom that has seen the region pull ahead of Europe for only the second time since the financial crash.

The region’s floats pulled $4.8 billion at the end of March this year, well above the $3.9 billion that European floats raised, with the hugely successful Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) listing in May pushing the total over the $10 billion mark.

The last time it enjoyed this lead over Europe was following the Aramco IPO, which raised close to $30 billion.

DEWA raised $6.1 billion from local, regional and international investors, making it the UAE’s largest ever initial public offering (IPO).

Other crown jewel government-owned assets set to go public include business parks operator Tecom Group; Salik, a road toll operator; and district cooling services provider Empower.

Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund also has a 60 percent stake in supercar maker McLaren, which it expects to take public in two to three years, according to a Reuters report citing Mumtalakat CEO Khalid Al Rumaihi.

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