Lazard appoints Al-Khatib as MENA funding banking CEO

DUBAI – Funding financial institution Lazard Ltd stated on Monday it employed Wassim Al-Khatib as chief government officer of the financial institution’s funding banking enterprise for the Center East and North Africa.

Al-Khatib will even be CEO of Lazard Saudi Arabia, the assertion stated, including that the financial institution plans to make its presence within the kingdom its regional Center East and North Africa funding banking hub.

Saudi Arabia raised the stakes in a contest with Dubai, the Center East’s monetary hub, when it launched a coverage in February 2021 that it’s going to now not signal contracts with overseas firms which wouldn’t have a regional headquarters within the kingdom after 2023.

Al-Khatib joins Lazard from Citigroup the place he headed its enterprise in Saudi Arabia and previous to that he was the top of Nationwide Industrial Financial institution’s funding banking enterprise the place he was a key dealmaker on oil big Aramco’s, preliminary public providing.

Worldwide banks have been courting Saudi Arabia ever because the kingdom outlined plans to drift Aramco, leading to a landmark $29.4 billion share sale earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Center East has been a shiny spot of exercise in an in any other case gloomy 12 months for fairness capital markets. Corporations have raised some $21.9 billion by IPOs within the space in 2022, greater than half the entire for the broader EMEA area, which additionally consists of Europe and Africa, in keeping with Dealogic information.

Specifically, Saudi Arabia has witnessed a string of IPOs amid a government-led privatisation programme that has additionally seen state entities shed a few of their holdings in listed companies, encouraging native firms and household companies to go public.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Funding Fund (PIF) is working with Lazard (LAZ.N) on funding choices and a possible preliminary public providing of Masar, a $27 billion mega undertaking within the holy metropolis of Mecca, two sources with direct data instructed Reuters in November.

The dominion’s sovereign wealth fund, which has over $600 billion in property, is working with Lazard on Masar, and several other different initiatives together with the $500 billion financial zone NEOM, the sources stated.

(Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh; modifying by Louise Heavens)