An IPO selling 30% of monopoly operator Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC) has been branded a huge success by the Saudi government who claimed that the offering was massively oversubscribed with investors offering to buy nearly USD10 billion worth of shares. The 90 million shares on offer were priced at SAR170 (approximately USD45) each and sold in multiples of ten, with 60 million sold to private Saudi citizens and the remainder going to two public pension funds. STC is seen as a strong investment in an otherwise struggling world telecoms market and posted net profits of USD762.4 million in the first nine months of 2002. Its total assets amounted to USD11.4 billion at the same date and are predicted to rise a further 20% once the company is listed. The Saudi government has committed to introducing competition in the wireless market by 2004 and the fixed line sector by 2008 as part of a broader privatisation plan encompassing a number of the country’s vital economic sectors including its railways, civil aviation and health services.