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S&P opens Saudi office

S&P opens Saudi office

Saudi national Meshari Al-Khaled has been appointed managing director and office head of the operation

Ratings agency S&P has begun operations in Saudi Arabia with the opening of an office in Riyadh.

The company said it was the first credit ratings agency to conduct activities in the kingdom and will operate from a branch in Kingdom Tower.

Saudi national Meshari Al-Khaled has been appointed managing director and office head of the operation having previously served in roles at the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority and ABN Amro/Alawwal Bank’s investment banking unit.

“As Saudi Arabia’s capital markets evolve to match the size of the country’s economy, there is a prime potential for greater debt issuance,” he said.

“Only 15 per cent of listed companies in Saudi Arabia have a credit rating so there is a significant opportunity for S&P Global Ratings to serve investors through our objective evaluation of risk for governments, corporates and financial institutions.”

The company’s entrance in the kingdom comes amid expectations of rising corporate bond activity due to a lack of liquidity in the local banking sector.

The government sold its third international bond at the end of September, raising $12.5bn.

Read: Saudi Arabia sells third international bond to raise $12.5bn

S&P said it was the first ratings agency to obtain pre-approval for operations from the Capital Market Authority in October 2016.

Rivals Fitch and Moody’s also obtained similar approvals in April and July respectively.

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