PIF-owned digital security provider Elm gets regulatory approval for IPO

Riyadh company plans to sell 24 million shares – 30% of its share capital

Saudi Arabia is encouraging more stock market participation as the kingdom continues its economic diversification. Reuters

Elm, a Saudi Arabian information security company, received regulatory approval from the kingdom's Capital Markets Authority for an initial public offering to sell 24 million shares, which represents 30 per cent of Elm's share capital.

The prospectus for the Riyadh-based company, which is owned by the kingdom's Public Investment Fund, will be published before the start of the subscription period, the company said in a filing to the Saudi stock exchange on Thursday.

Elm did not say when it plans to list its shares.

The CMA’s IPO approval will be valid for six months and the application will be cancelled if the offering and listing of the company's shares are not completed within that period, the statement said.

The number of listings on the Saudi Arabia’s bourse, the biggest in the Arab world by market value, has risen sharply this year as as companies seek to tap public markets for liquidity and expand operations as the kingdom continues to diversify its economy under the Vision 2030 programme.

In December, Saudi Tadawul Group, the owner and operator of the kingdom’s stock exchange, listed on the stock exchange, raising $1 billion in what was one of the biggest exchange IPOs in the region. Riyadh utility developer Acwa Power also raised $1.2bn in a listing on Tadawul earlier this year.

Investcorp, the alternative asset manager whose biggest shareholder is Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Investment Company, last month launched a $500 million fund to invest in high-growth Saudi companies. The Pre-IPO Growth Vehicle is dedicated to investing in companies that are at the pre-initial public offering stage of development.

Elm offers a wide range of ready-made and customised digital solutions in several sectors. It was established in 1986 as a research company investing in localising technology, setting the stage for its introduction to the e-security sector in 2002, according to its website.

It was transformed into a joint-stock company owned by the PIF in 2007, which helped it to expand beyond technology in 2009 and globally in 2016.

In October, Elm joined a Series A funding round for tele-health start-up Cura, which raised $15m and also drew the participation of Saudi Aramco's entrepreneurship arm Wa'ed.

Start-ups in the kingdom posted their best quarter for fund-raising in the quarter ending September 30, attracting $205m across 34 deals, according to data platform Magnitt. Venture capital investments in start-ups in the kingdom more than quadrupled in the three-month period compared with the same period last year.

Updated: December 23rd 2021, 11:42 AM