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Carlyle eyes IPO for Saudi General Lighting

London, November 26, 2011

Private equity investor Carlyle Group plans to sell its its investment in Saudi Arabia's General Lighting Company through an initial public share offer in Riyadh in 2013 and is now close to doing its second deal in the kingdom, sources familiar with the matter said.

Carlyle, which manages around $153 billion of assets globally, has hired Riyadh-based GIB Capital to help with the IPO process for General Lighting, the sources said.

However, it only plans to file for an IPO with the Saudi Arabian regulator late in 2012 and a potential listing will not be before 2013, one of the three sources said.

Washington-based Carlyle bought a 30-percent stake in the Saudi lighting fixtures manufacturer and supplier in March 2010 for an undisclosed amount.

GIB Capital is the investment banking arm of Gulf International Bank, which is owned by six Gulf states. The bank has advised on IPO offerings in excess of $5 billion in the kingdo m, according to its website.

Carlyle, which itself filed for an IPO in September, is also on the cusp of acquiring a 42-percent stake in a family-owned Saudi food products company within the next two weeks, tw o of the sources said.

No one at Carlyle in London could be immediately reached for comment.

Saudi Arabia is the biggest market in the region and home to its top companies including petrochemicals giant Saudi Basic Industries Corp. and Saudi Telecom, the biggest telecoms firms in the Gulf by revenue.

For private equity firms the kingdom's stock market, which is still closed to direct foreign investment, provides a viable exit route in contrast to subdued markets in the Uni ted Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

Carlyle's rival KKR got a licence in June to conduct business in the kingdom, while Standard Chartered's private equity arm bought a minority stake in a Saudi Binladin Group unit for $75 million in August, in its first deal in Saudi Arabia.

In October Carlyle said it was on track to acquire a food processing company by the end of the year and is scouting for more deals in the Gulf region.

Carlyle raised $500 million in 2007 for its debut fund in the Mena. In the Gulf it has so far only invested in General Lighting.

Carlyle's co-founder David Rubenstein said in March the firm is still looking at deals in the Middle East region.

Mubadala, an Abu Dhabi government fund, brought a 7.5 percent stake in Carlyle in 2007, and invested a further $500 million in December last year.-Reuters




Tags: IPO | Saudi | Carlyle | General Lighting |

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