1. Business
October 5, 2017

Saudi Aramco IPO: the world’s biggest market debut is on for next year

By Billy

The initial public offering of Saudi Aramco, what could well be the world’s largest market debut, is on for the second half of 2018.

The confirmation — which some had suggested may be pushed back in order for the world’s most valuable company to get its finances in order — came during a historic trip by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz to Russia.

King Salman is today meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin and the two are expected to discuss extending an agreement curbing oil supplies.

Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih, speaking at a panel discussion of an energy forum in Moscow, said:

The government is moving right ahead, as the chairman of Saudi Aramco I can tell you that our board remains focused on reviewing the preparations for that event by a very dedicated team within the company. It will take place in 2018 and there is nothing to indicate that that schedule is slipping.

No location for the listing has been decided but al-Falih told Bloomberg news earlier in the day that Russia would not have a role in the IPO.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is expected to sell around five percent of Saudi Arabian Oil Co — better known as Aramco — that’s expected to raise as much as $500m.

This would value the company at between $1trn and $2trn. Independent analysts expected the valuation to be at the lower end of the scale, though the Kingdom maintains it will be closer to £2trn.

The listing would dwarf the domestic Saudi stock exchange and the likes of the London, New York Stock Exchange, and Hong Kong, have all been eyed as potential secondary homes for the listing.

The three cities have been on a charm offensive to try to entice the company. Earlier this year London Stock Exchange CEO Zavier Rolet accompanied British prime minister Theresa May on a visit to Riyadh as part of a broader initiative to participate in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 economic liberalisation program.

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