February 8, 2018 / 5:21 PM / 9 months ago

Saudi Arabia's Leejam Sports seeks approval for stock market listing -sources

DUBAI, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian sports and fitness business Leejam Sports Co has applied to the kingdom’s stock market regulator to carry out an initial public offering, according to financial sources familiar with the matter.

The listing is the latest in what is expected to be a busy pipeline of public share sales in the kingdom, encouraged by a government drive to entice investment and diversify the economy away from a reliance on oil.

Reuters reported in May last year that the investment banking arm of Samba Financial Group and Rothschild had been selected to arrange a share sale that was then expected to raise 1 billion riyals ($266.7 million).

Since then the company, which operates around 115 fitness clubs under the Fitness Time brand, has been waiting for the right opportunity to list, the sources said on Thursday.

The sources didn’t say whether the company still planned to sell 30 percent to the public. That was the plan Reuters reported last year, citing sources.

Investcorp, which acquired a 25 percent stake in the firm in 2013, is expected to be one of the sellers of shares, the sources said.

Leejam did not respond to a phone call requesting a comment. Investcorp, the Bahrain-based private equity firm, declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

$1 = 3.7502 riyals Additional reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh; Editing by Adrian Croft

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