Aramco Bond Issue: Renewed Confidence in a Resurgent Kingdom?

Lumina was proud to sponsor the birthday celebration of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (it’s actually on 21 April) at the British Embassy in Riyadh this week. With a 1,500 strong guest list of the “who’s who” of the region joining in the celebrations, here are some of the key themes that emerged.

Overall we found much more optimism in the business environment going into Q2 2019 and beyond. Probably the most hopeful we have seen market for 18 months, and in a country notorious for not wanting to exaggerate recovery, we see this as a strong positive signal.

  • Aside from the recent recovery in oil price, a strong stock market performance by the Tadawul and inclusion in the MSCI index, returning business confidence   
  • Renewed international interest in the Kingdom, with a 10x oversubscribed Saudi Aramco bond offering taken up by major global financial institutions 
  • Mega infrastructure projects like Neom and the $23bn beautification of Riyadh driving both regional and international architecture, engineering and construction investment in people to new highs
  • Some evidence of public sector investment now flowing into private sector meaning higher disposable incomes leading to the trickle down into consumer spending

However: 

  • Family offices and institutional investors believe valuations are high driven by the scarcity of quality assets           
  • Priority sectors like healthcare and education continue to attract capital however, opportunities are limited, and local and regional capital continues to look for stable long term investment opportunities outside the Kingdom