FCA held Saudi Aramco meetings before proposing listings change

Ivan Schwartz
October 17, 2017

Saudi Arabia is considering shelving a plan to list state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco in New York, London or any other worldwide exchange as it instead ponders an offer by a Chinese investor to acquire a stake in the world's largest energy company, according to multiple news reports.

Other potential plans include the domestic IPO and the sale of a private stake in Aramco to one of several "cornerstone investors", such as the Chinese government, according to the FT.

Saudi Aramco is mulling the sale of some stake to a Chinese investor as plans for its worldwide public offering are pushed beyond its 2018 target, Reuters reports, citing sources familiar with the matter. Private sales discussions have included the government of China.

The Aramco IPO is an essential part of Saudi Vision 2030, towards a diversification away from oil.

Saudi Arabia has been making contingency plans for a possible delay of the IPO, Bloomberg News reported last month. The sources didn't go into detail about what the drivers behind the delay could be.

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FT later confirmed Aramco as saying on Twitter: "All listing venues under review for optimal decision, IPO process is on track for 2018".

"A range of options, for the public listing of Saudi Aramco, continues to be held under active review", an Aramco spokesman questioned on the reports told AFP on Saturday. But a share listing would open the company to greater global regulation and scrutiny. Aramco, however, plans to only float 5 percent of its stock - a much-anticipated event planned for the second half of 2018. The London Stock Exchange is wooing Aramco, but that is "controversial", says the BBC.

What's the fuss about Saudi Aramco and the London market?

But the company has struggled to select an global venue for its listing with the UK's market regulator becoming mired in controversy after being accused of watering down the rules in order to clinch the Saudi deal.

Other reports by GizPress

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