Saudi Aramco CEO says a public listing is likely ‘very soon’

The initial public offering of Saudi Arabia's state oil company, Aramco, has been delayed several times, but now appears to be gaining momentum [File: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters]
The initial public offering of Saudi Arabia’s state oil company, Aramco, has been delayed several times, but now appears to be gaining momentum [File: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters]

Saudi Aramco’s chief executive, Amin Nasser, said on Tuesday a domestic initial public offering of shares of the Saudi Arabian oil giant would be the company’s primary listing but that it was also ready for an international offering.

Nasser, speaking to reporters, cited Saudi Arabia’s new energy minister as saying an initial public offering would happen “very soon” but added that the ultimate decision on the timing and venue rested with the government.

“One of the primary listings is going to be local but we are also ready for listing outside,” Nasser said on the sidelines of the World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi.

“We have always said that Aramco is ready whenever the shareholder makes a decision to list and as you heard from his Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz yesterday that it is going to be very soon, so we are prepared – that’s the bottom line,” he said.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Monday that Saudi Arabia was aiming for the Aramco IPO “as soon as possible”, speaking on the issue for the first time since replacing Khalid al-Falih at the ministry.

Based on the indicated $2 trillion valuation that Saudi Aramco had hoped to achieve, a one-percent float would be worth $20bn.

Aramco’s flotation, which could be the world’s biggest IPO, is crucial to raise money for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS)’s plans to diversify the Saudi economy away from oil revenues and has rapidly regained momentum over the past few days.

Nasser said that with the appointment of Prince Abdulaziz as energy minister, Aramco would have an “arms-length” relationship with the ministry, which he said would continue to dictate Aramco’s maximum sustained capacity and production.

Saudi Arabia plans a gradual listing of Aramco on its domestic market, sources familiar with the matter told the Reuters news agency, as it moves ahead with the process and finalises the roles banks will play in the offering of the world’s biggest oil company.

News agencies

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