Astra Food cancels IPO plan
Riyadh, November 21, 2013
Astra Food, a Saudi Arabian producer and distributor of food products, has cancelled its plan for an initial public offer of shares after deciding it could not confirm projections for its financial performance, the stock market regulator said.
Earlier this month, the Capital Market Authority approved a plan by Astra to sell 11 million shares, representing 40 percent of the company, between Dec. 18 and 24.
But the CMA said in a statement on Thursday that it had now approved a request by the company to cancel the IPO.
It cited "some developments in the company's operations environment that led to the company and its financial advisor's inability to confirm the validity of the estimates and expectations of the company's future, especially in the coming 12 to 18 months.
"This also limits the ability of the company and its financial advisors to support the proposed evaluation of the company," it added.
It was believed to be only the third time that a Saudi company had cancelled IPO plans that were already underway; Al Tayyar did so in 2010 and Al Ajlan in 2006, but in those cases the reason cited was weak market conditions.
Under the Saudi IPO process, Astra Food's share price in the offer was to have been decided after a book-building process in which investors suggested values based on the company's financial statements, operations and outlook.
Under a new chairman, the CMA has been working this year to tighten standards and increase transparency in the Arab world's largest stock market. Earlier this week, it approved tougher regulations for loss-making companies listed on the market. – Reuters
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