Arab News, Wednesday, Sep 11, 2019 | Muharram 12, 1441
First shares in Aramco will be sold on Saudi stock exchange
Saudi Arabia: Saudi Aramco’s
long awaited initial public offering (IPO) will take place “very soon” on the
Tadawul, the Kingdom’s stock market, the state oil company’s chief executive
Amin Nasser said on Tuesday.
There was also likely to be a later listing on a foreign market, Nasser said,
but he declined to say where.
“The primary listing is to list locally but we are also ready for listing
outside in other districts,” Nasser said at the World Energy Congress in Abu
Dhabi. “We are ready to list wherever shareholders decide.”
Nasser echoed remarks by Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, the Kingdom’s new energy
minister, on the first day of the congress. “As you heard from Prince Abdul Aziz
yesterday, it is going to be very soon. So, we are ready — that is the bottom
line,” Nasser said.
His comments were the first confirmation by an Aramco official of a two-stage
IPO, with the first tranche of shares — perhaps about 1 per cent of the company
—offered to investors on the Tadawul.
New York, London and Hong Kong have all said they would like to stage the
foreign tranche of the IPO, but Tokyo has also emerged as a strong candidate.
There has been speculation the IPO would be announced at the Future Investment
Initiative summit in Riyadh next month, but some bankers believe it could be
unveiled even sooner.
“Listing even a small number of shares of Aramco on Tadawul will provide Saudi
citizens with an opportunity to invest in the Kingdom’s crown jewel,” Ellen
Wald, energy consultant and author of the book Saudi Inc, told Arab News.
“However, there are risks associated with this, as Tadawul is a relatively small
exchange and Aramco is a large company.”
The Aramco IPO is expected to be among the largest in corporate history, and a
raft of global banks last week paraded their credentials to be chosen for the
prestigious and lucrative jobs advising the company and the Saudi government on
the share sale. Once the winners are named, there is little to stop the IPO
process from beginning immediately.
Addressing the congress on Tuesday, Nasser also said there was no limit to the
oil industry’s potential if it could meet society’s demand for “ultra clean”
energy. “The world faces an incredible climate challenge and we need a bold
response to match,” he said.