Schlumberger-backed Arabian Drilling planning Saudi IPO

By Matthew Martin and Dinesh Nair on 5/2/2021

(Bloomberg)— Arabian Drilling Co., a Saudi oilfield-services company partly held by Schlumberger NV, is preparing an initial public offering that could give it a valuation of around $2 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

The firm, also owned by Saudi Arabia’s Industrialization & Energy Services Company, known as Taqa, has asked banks to pitch for a role on the potential share sale, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

Arabian Drilling may complete a deal on Riyadh’s stock exchange before the end of the year, they said. No decisions have been finalized and the owners may decide against an IPO, the people said.

The company was founded in 1964 and counts Saudi Aramco, the kingdom’s state energy producer, among its main customers. Arabian Drilling didn’t respond to requests to comment.

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The discussions about a deal comes as Aramco and other national oil firms in the Middle East step up plans to raise billions of dollars from foreign investors, including through asset sales and IPOs. Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. is considering a listing of its drilling business, which could raise more than $1 billion if it goes ahead.

Riyadh has been the busiest IPO market in the Middle East over the past two years. That trend looks set to continue with a fresh wave of offerings planned, thanks in part to the country’s economic recovery following last year’s coronavirus lockdowns and crash in oil prices.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. is planning to list its specialty chemicals business, and Saudi Telecom Co. may sell a stake in its internet-services unit. The company running the stock exchange, Saudi Tadawul Group, is also planning an IPO later this year.

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