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Saudi Airlines' assets to be privatised before end of 2020

File photo of a Saudia airline's plane taking off [Asuspine/Wikipedia]
File photo of a Saudi Arabian airline's plane taking off [Asuspine/Wikipedia]

Chief Executive Director of Saudi Arabian Airlines Corporation, Ghassan Al-Shibl, revealed that the Corporation aims to privatize all the Saudi Airlines’ assets, including the airline company itself, so that after 2020 all assets would be fully privatized.

This process comes as part of a plan to privatize a large number of facilities and public sectors in Saudi Arabia after the crisis that resulted from the decline in oil prices since the middle of 2014 and the absence of any signs of their improvement in the near future. The process comes also in light of the budget deficit of Saudi Arabia.

Regarding the inclusion in the stock market, Al-Shibl added that the matter is different from privatization, as certain requirements must be met and then we could work on the inclusion in the stock market.

“We have previous examples, such as the Saudi Ground Services Company and the Saudi Catering Company. These companies have started the same process, initially starting by bringing in a strategic partner, working on them as private companies and then  listing them to the initial public offering as a joint stock company,” he said.

On Wednesday, at the end of a press conference that was held at the headquarters of the General Authority of Civil Aviation to hand over the license of the new air operator, Saudi Airlines’ Flyadeal in Riyadh, Al-Shibl pointed out that a large number of international and local investors have expressed their interest in investing in the sector.

He also said: “We have tightened the long list of investors to a limited number based on factors, including solvency, investment history and provision of high quality service.”

Saudi Arabia, which is seeking to find ways to support the country’s budget after the fall of oil prices since 2014, has decided to allocate 6 units in the Saudi-state-owned airline, and finished launching the units of supply and ground services.

Last year, it announced that it finished working on the files  related to exposing 30% of the Saudi Shipping Company’s shares for the public offering, and that the offering may take place in 2017.

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