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Saudi oil driller Arabian Drilling hires Goldman, HSBC, SNB Capital for IPO

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Arabian Drilling Co., a Saudi oilfield-services firm partly held by Schlumberger NV, hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc, HSBC Holdings Plc and SNB Capital to manage its IPO in Riyadh, seeking to join a steady stream of Gulf firms tapping equity markets.

The firm will sell 26.7 million shares, or a 30 percent stake, in initial public offering, according to a statement. The offer price will be determined following a book-building period from September 28 to October 5.

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About a third of the IPO will be new shares, and the proceeds will be used to scale up onshore and offshore fleet and expand operations in the Gulf Cooperation Council region, it said.

Arabian Drilling operates 45 rigs and had revenue of $586 million last year. It also has an order backlog of $2.2 billion.

“We are in a period of unprecedented growth for Arabian Drilling -- oil prices are up, demand for energy is high and we are growing,” Chief Executive Officer Ghassan Mirdad said in an interview. “We have a clear strategy for growth, in Saudi or outside, and this needs a lot of funding.”

Investor appetite for Saudi listings remains strong, though a rally in Middle Eastern equities has faded over the past few months as fears of recessions gripped global markets.

Saudi Arabia is home the Middle East’s biggest stock market and saw 10 IPOs in the past 12 months, raising a combined $6.55 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Arabian Drilling could be valued at more than $1.4 billion, people familiar told Bloomberg in April. The company was founded in 1964 and counts Saudi Aramco, the kingdom’s state energy producer, among its main customers.

The company is looking to capitalize on Aramco’s plans to significantly boost its oil and gas production, while also expanding its operations in the Middle East and eyeing potential acquisitions, Mirdad said.

Saudi Arabia’s Industrialization & Energy Services Co., a firm which is majority controlled by Saudi wealth fund the Public Investment Fund, owns 51 percent of Arabian Drilling. Services Petroliers Schlumberger owns the rest.

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