Saudi Aramco denies international IPO is being shelved, despite possible benefits

Saudi Aramco denies international IPO is being shelved, despite possible benefits
2 min read
14 October, 2017
Saudi oil giant moves to allay speculation that it is considering shelving or scrapping its international IPO following reports in Western media outlets.
Speculation has swirled over whether Aramco will pull its international IPO [AFP]

Oil giant Saudi Aramco has denied speculation that it will no longer be offering shares to the public, following reports early on Saturday claiming that the company was considering scrapping its planned IPO.

"A range of options, for the public listing of Saudi Aramco, continue to be held under active review. No decision has been made and the IPO process remains on track," an Aramco spokesman quoted by CNBC said, reiterating the messages given by Saudi energy minister Khalid Al-Falih and Saudi Aramco President Amin Nasser.

On Saturday, a report by the Financial Times highlighted concerns that the IPO is being shelved, as top figures in Aramco deliberate over the date and manner of the sales.

Sources cited by Bloomberg claim that Aramco is considering delaying the massive IPO, which would give away 5 percent of the company, until 2019.

The source, who is said to be close to the IPO, said that Aramco heads are considering listing on the Saudi market first, then listing on an international exchange at a later date.

The debate is reportedly over whether it should be a London or New York listing.

The FT report, meanwhile, quoted five sources who said that a sale to a foreign government is being considered, as concerns heighten about the feasibility of a foreign listing.

China was named as one of the states said to have been considered.

"I think it is always worth remembering that a key goal of the Aramco sale was to yield ‎$100 billion for the Public Investment Fund. Private placement may simply be the easier way to get to that goal in 2018," Helima Croft, head of global commodities research at RBC, told CNBC.

Aramco heads are also reportedly taking into consideration 
the increased transparency requirements for an international listing, particularly as the oil firm is state owned and heavily connected to government bureaucracy.