Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is exploring an initial public offering of the kingdom’s largest medical procurement firm, Nupco, as early as next year, according to people familiar with the matter.
The firm has held initial discussions with advisers about the potential share sale, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public. Details of the IPO such as size and timing are still being considered, the people said.
A representative for the Public Investment Fund declined to comment. A representative for Nupco didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Founded in 2009, Nupco is involved in health-care procurement and the re-exporting, warehousing and distribution of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and supplies across Saudi Arabia.
Nupco is seeking to raise the level of health services in the kingdom, improving the efficiency of government spending for the purchase of medical supplies and increasing the effectiveness of supply chains in the public health-care sector.
The PIF has listed several of its portfolio companies in recent years as part a drive to raise funds for international acquisitions to help diversify the kingdom’s economy away from oil. The fund is a key pillar of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s multi-trillion-dollar Vision 2030 plan to transform the economy.
Health-care is one of the main areas of the Vision 2030 as the country seeks to develop its drug industry. In June, the PIF created a new entity to attract pharmaceutical and biotech companies to invest in developing pharmaceutical products including insulins, vaccines, and plasma therapeutics, among others.
Generic drugmaker Jamjoom Pharmaceuticals Factory Co. is Saudi Arabia’s best-performing IPO raising over $10 million this year, with its shares up 71 per cent.
The kingdom’s market for IPOs has sprung back to life since the start of the summer after being virtually dormant for the first four months of the year as the benchmark index weakened. While the index then staged a rebound through to late July, it has since fallen again and almost erased the year’s gains.