The company plans to offer an 11 per cent stake to institutional investors Nomu Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Saudi Arabia's Ithraa Alkhair Company for Pilgrims Services is preparing to launch the first IPO in the country’s religious tourism sector.

Ithraa Alkhair Company is a licensed provider of Hajj services for non-Arab African pilgrims.

Part of the Ithraa Group, the company plans to offer an 11 per cent stake to institutional investors on the Nomu parallel market.

Nomu is a parallel equity market with lighter listing requirements that serves as an alternative platform for companies to go public, and the investment in this market is restricted to qualified investors.

Additionally, it is considering a dual listing overseas.

Ithraa Alkhair manages various facets of pilgrimage journeys, including accommodations, transportation, and support services for pilgrims.

Initially opting against listing on the Tadawul, the company aims to first gauge investor sentiment on the Nomu market, which is accessible only to qualified individual investors and institutions, providing a sense of security to shareholders.

Companies must complete a two-year membership on Nomu before applying for inclusion in the main index, which offers exposure to a broader investor base.

The Hajj services sector is poised for substantial growth under Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 initiative, aimed at enhancing Hajj and Umrah services to accommodate up to 30 million pilgrims annually by the decade’s end.

The Saudi Vision 2030, which is a programme launched by the government in 2016, with the main aim of diversifying its economy away from the oil sector. It has three main pillars - a vibrant society, a thriving economy, and an ambitious nation.

Speaking at the BMG Economic Forum in London, Ahmed Sindi, CEO of telecommunication company Dawiyat in Saudi Arabia, anticipated a wave of IPOs from other Hajj services firms, predicting it to be the next major sector.

BMG is a Saudi-based company licensed by the Saudi Capital Market Authority (CMA) offering Investment Banking activities to clients and investors in Saudi Arabia and globally.

Nomu is expected to witness a surge in new listings this year, with 41 companies already applying for market entry through direct listings or IPOs, as disclosed by market regulators in December.