Riyadh: Magrabi Medical Group Holdings, an operator of eyewear stores and clinics in the Middle East, has paused plans for an initial public offering of its hospitals business in Saudi Arabia, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The family-owned company put the IPO on ice after deciding the business needs more time to develop before going public, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing confidential information.
Magrabi last year asked banks to pitch for a role on an IPO on the Saudi stock exchange, Bloomberg News reported. Rothschild was advising Magrabi at the time.
Deliberations are ongoing and IPO plans could still be revived this year, depending on market conditions, but Rothschild is not currently working on a potential listing, the people said. Representatives for Magrabi and Rothschild declined to comment.
While investor appetite for listings in the Middle East remains strong compared with other regions, broader uncertainty in markets has had a cooling effect of late. Companies have raised $3.3 billion from IPOs in the Gulf this year, down almost a third on the same point in 2022, data compiled by Bloomberg show. There have been no sizable listings in Saudi Arabia this year, the data show.
Magrabi is one of the Middle East’s leading optical retailers and operator of eye clinics. It opened a specialist hospital in 1955 and now runs more than 150 stores across five countries in the region, according to its website. It also operates more than 20 hospitals and clinics. Magrabi previously considered the sale of a minority stake in its business in 2017.