Citigroup is aiming to take further its business growth and expansion plans in Saudi Arabia with the hiring of more bankers for its straight custody business. The bank had revealed its intentions to expand its straight custody and clearing services in Saudi Arabia after it acquired an investment banking license in 2018. In the last two years, it has added around 20 bankers for onshore capital markets.
According to Citigroup’s Europe, Middle East, and Africa head David Livingstone, who was addressing a conference on July 2, 2020, the bank is quite optimistic and excited about participating in Saudi Arabia’s financial sector activity.
Citigroup aims to harness the economic potential of Saudi Arabia. As a part of ‘Saudi Vision 2030′, Saudi Arabia is looking to come up with many business opportunities for multinationals through several economic reforms. This will create greater investment opportunities for corporates in the country. The sectors that might come up with such opportunities include automotive, Fast-Moving Consumer Goods, and power generation.
As one of the leading trade and cash management banks, Citigroup will help businesses in these sectors from advising on investments to providing short- and long- term financing solutions in foreign currency. With the installation of more bankers, the bank will be able to capitalize on these opportunities.
Over the years, the bank has earned a reputation for helping large local corporates in the private and public sector in raising long-term capital and creating working capital efficiencies. Citigroup advocated Saudi Aramco on its record $29.4B IPO in 2019. It has also guided the Saudi government on a $7 billion three-tranche bond sale in April 2020.
Amidst the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the oil and gas industry worldwide, Livingstone also cleared rumors about Citigroup’s reluctance over lending to Middle East oil producers due to lower oil prices. Livingstone added that though the pandemic has hit many Middle Eastern oil producers, their low-cost base will help them withstand lower oil prices as compared to the rest of the world.
Saudi Arabia’s ambitious plan for greater economic diversification will pave the path for the future of the country. Citigroup, with its decision to expand in Saudi Arabia, could play a crucial role in helping support the country to achieve “Saudi Vision 2030.”