The initial public offering (IPO) in the newly established Al-Bilad Bank is scheduled to start on November 27, with all banks in the Kingdom taking part. Half of the new bank's shares will be sold to the public for SR50 [$13.4] per share, involving 30 million shares worth a total of SR1.5 billion [U.S. $ 0.4 billion]. The bank's management is currently holding talks with the financial markets board to fix the maximum and minimum number of shares to be subscribed by citizens.
The launch of Al-Bilad Bank was formally approved by the Council of Ministers at its meeting on Monday. It is an Islamic bank, created through the merger of eight companies offering money exchange services, and is expected to begin operations in the first quarter of 2005.