Saudi Telecom Co. plans to spin off its internet-services unit through an initial public offering on the local stock exchange late next year, in a listing that could value the business at about SAR10bn ($2.7bn), according to people familiar with the matter.

Saudi Telecom is considering selling as much as 30 per cent of the unit, Solutions by STC, although no final decisions have been made and the company may still decide against selling shares, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

The final valuation could be higher depending on how much profit it makes over the rest of this year and investor demand for the shares.

The company has already started talks with local and international investment banks, but has yet to appoint a financial adviser, the people said.

STC shares rose as much as 3.4 per cent and were trading at SAR102 at 3pm in Riyadh.

While Saudi Telecom doesn’t break out the financial performance of its subsidiaries, the Riyadh-based company did say that Solutions by STC was one of the two key drivers for a 10 per cent increase in revenue for the second quarter, along with its sales and distribution arm, STC Channels.

Saudi Telecom and Solutions by STC didn’t respond to emailed requests for comment.

The potential listing comes as businesses from grocery stores to car rental companies look to sell shares on the Saudi stock market, buoyed by a surge in demand that has led to one recent offering being 83 times oversubscribed.

The Tadawul All Share Index, which is poised to be the first benchmark in the Gulf to erase 2020 losses, was up just under 1 per cent on Tuesday.

The Saudi telecoms firm is also continuing talks to buy Vodafone Group’s stake in Vodafone Egypt, even though a deadline to finalise terms lapsed this week.

Saudi Telecom had offered $2.39bn for Vodafone’s 55 per cent stake in the Egyptian carrier in January.

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