The World’s Largest IPO Is Ready To Go

By Tsvetana Paraskova

Saudi Arabia

Saudi oil giant Aramco is ready to list on international markets alongside its primary listing on the Saudi stock exchange, Aramco’s chief executive officer Amin Nasser said on Tuesday, as the Kingdom has noticeably sped up the timeline for what would be the world’s biggest-ever IPO.

“It is going to be the primary listing, to list locally, but we are ready also for listing outside in other jurisdictions,” Nasser told reporters on the sidelines of an industry event in Abu Dhabi, as carried by Reuters.

The top manager of the Saudi state oil firm reiterated that it’s up to the sole shareholder of the company – the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – to decide when the listing will take place.

According to Reuters sources, Aramco’s board decided last month against listing in New York – the venue reportedly preferred by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – because it would carry too many legal risks for the Saudi firm. London, Hong Kong, and Tokyo have all been rumored at some point as possible international venues for Aramco’s listing, and major changes to key positions of power within the Oil Kingdom point to a decision being made in the very near future.

Last week, Saudi Arabia started to fast-track Aramco’s IPO, with Khalid al-Falih losing both his role as chairman of the board for Aramco and as the Kingdom’s energy minister. Abdulaziz bin Salman, the King’s son and half-brother of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is the new energy minister and represent a further coalescing of power around the Crown Prince.

The extent of the shake-up within the energy and mining ministry and Aramco signals that the Saudi leadership wants the IPO done quickly and wants people who are very supportive of this process in power, Helima Croft of RBC Capital Markets told CNBC last week.

Saudi Arabia’s new energy minister, Abdulaziz bin Salman, said on Monday in his first public comments after taking over from al-Falih that the Kingdom aims to have the IPO take place “as soon as possible.”

Nasser said on Tuesday that a domestic market listing would take place “very soon.”

Saudi officials have approached some of the richest families in Saudi Arabia about potentially becoming anchor investors in the IPO, Bloomberg reported earlier this week.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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