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LONDON, April 25 (IFR) - Saudi Arabia has awarded a licence to Citigroup to allow it to provide a full range of investment banking and capital markets services, the US bank said on Tuesday.
It will see Citigroup return to Saudi Arabia after an absence of nearly 13 years and comes at a crucial time: investment opportunities are opening as the kingdom diversifies its economy away from oil under its National Transformation Plan.
The government is preparing to list up to 5% of oil giant Saudi Aramco in an initial public share offering that could raise as much as US$100bn.
Citigroup said the Saudi Arabian Capital Market Authority (CMA) granted a licence to Citigroup Saudi Arabia, which will provide a full range of investment banking, debt and equity capital markets, markets, and securities research capabilities to its local and international institutional clients.
"Saudi Arabia is a regional economic leader and a strategically important market for Citi,” said Jim Cowles, Citigroup’s CEO for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Citigroup has been present in the Arab world since 1955 and offers full scale corporate and investment banking services. But it pulled out of Saudi Arabia in 2004 when it sold its 20% stake in Samba Financial Group, saying then it was reallocating capital to core investments. (Reporting by Steve Slater)