Mohammad Salah, is the biggest brandname in global football from Egypt. The Arab nation took a leap in the right direction when Ghazl El Mahalla Sporting Club announced a public issue. Image Credit: Reuters file

Cairo: An Egyptian soccer club is seeking to raise as much as 135 million Egyptian pounds ($8.6 million) from an initial public offering on the country’s stock exchange, a first of its kind for the Arab world.

Ghazl El Mahalla Sporting Club completed a private placement of 37 million pounds ahead of its IPO, according to a statement from the Public Enterprise Ministry. It will issue a prospectus for its 98 million pounds public offering “soon,” it said.

The company is seeking to sell a more than 60% stake and expects a market capitalization of 200 million pounds. Cairo-based Prime Holding is the financial adviser on the deal.

Egypt’s IPO market is reviving after the government this year resumed a stalled program of listing or selling additional stakes in some state-owned companies. E-Finance for Digital and Financial Investments, the biggest local market debut since 2015, went public in October as part of that effort. The government also offered an additional 10% stake in Abou Kir Fertilizers & Chemical Industries Co. in December.

Ghazl El Mahalla competes in the Egyptian Premier League and has contributed players to Egypt’s national football team, currently captained by Liverpool star Mohamed Salah.

The listing could stir more interest in sporting clubs within the Arab world’s most populous nation. Al Ahly Sporting Club, among Egyptian teams with the largest following, is considering offering 49% of the company in an IPO, its chairman told Al Arabiya in November.