UK Officials Told That Aramco IPO Unlikely Until 2019: FT

Sergio Conner
March 12, 2018

The much heralded public listing for five percent of Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company, seems unlikely to proceed in 2018, according to reports in London's Financial Times.

In October, Saudi Energy Minster Khalid Al-Faith, who is also the chairman of Saudi Aramco, said that the IPO was expected to take place in the second half of 2018, with shares to be sold domestically on Saudi Arabia's Tadawul exchange, and also on a foreign stock exchange at the same time.

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The delay, reported by the Financial Times, comes days after Amin Nasser, the CEO of the state-backed company, which is the world's largest oil producer, said the IPO was " progressing very well". The battle between where Aramco's stock would list is seen as a horse race between the New York Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange.

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The units are part of the many steps Saudi Arabia has been taking to reform the national economy, including the previous year series of arrests that covered princes and sitting and former ministers in corruption-related cases.

Financial advisers and associates of the detainees have told the New York Times that numerous assets of those detained have yet to be seized and most of those already seized are domestic real estate and shares of companies that could take years to liquidate. There also are calls for the company to look eastward, for a Hong Kong listing.

If Saudi Arabia opted to list shares of the company overseas, officials that spoke with FT said they expected a domestic and foreign listing to occur at roughly the same time, potentially in the first half of next year, the paper said.

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