DUBAI (Reuters) – Investment bank Lazard (LAZ.N) said on Wednesday it had hired Wasim Al-Khatib as CEO of its Middle East and North Africa investment banking unit.
Al-Khatib will also become CEO of Lazard Saudi Arabia, which plans to turn its presence in the Kingdom into the region’s Middle East and North Africa investment banking hub, the statement said. added.
Saudi Arabia raised its stakes in competition with Middle East financial hub Dubai in February 2021 when it introduced a policy of not signing contracts with foreign companies that do not have regional headquarters in the Kingdom after 2023. I was.
Al-Khatib joined Lazard from Citigroup, where he led operations in Saudi Arabia, where he was previously head of the investment banking business at National Commercial Bank and the head of oil giant Aramco’s (2222.SE) IPO. It was a major deal maker.
International banks have been courting Saudi Arabia since it announced plans to list Aramco. The result was a landmark $29.4 billion stock sale before the COVID-19 pandemic.
After a bleak year for equity capital markets, the Middle East has been a bright spot of activity. The company has raised about $21.9 billion through its IPO in the region in 2022, according to Dealogic data. This is more than half of the total for the wider EMEA region, which includes Europe and Africa.
Saudi Arabia, in particular, has seen a series of IPOs amid a government-led privatization program, with state-owned companies divesting some of their holdings in publicly traded companies to encourage local and family-owned companies to go public.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is working with Lazard (LAZ.N) on financing options and a potential initial public offering for Masar, a $27 billion megaproject in the holy city of Mecca. two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters in November. .
The Kingdom’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, which has more than $600 billion in assets, is working with Lazard on Masar and is working on several other projects, including the $500 billion economy NEOM, sources said. .
Reported by Hadeel Al Sayegh.Edited by Louise Havens
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