REPORT: Saudi Aramco asked banks to pitch for a role in its $2 trillion IPO

  • Saudi Aramco approaches banks to request pitches to run its IPO in 2018.
  • The oil company plans to appoint a group of lenders as coordinators and bookrunners by early next year.
  • Aramco’s IPO could value the company at as much as $US2 trillion, and is likely to be the biggest IPO in history.

LONDON – Saudi Arabia’s state oil company requested pitches from banks to be coordinators and bookrunners for its record breaking initial public offering scheduled for next year.

According to Bloomberg, which cites people familiar with the matter, Saudi Aramco sent requests to banks over the last few days, with the aim of appointing a group of banks to run the IPO process by “early next year.”

It is not known which banks have been approached, and those who have been contacted are understood not to have been told where Aramco plans to list its shares.

Bloomberg reports that Aramco has already worked with JPMorgan, HSBC, Morgan Stanley, and other smaller banks on initial preparations for the listing.

Saudi Aramco’s imminent stock market flotation – which is expected to take place at some point in 2018 – will likely make it the most valuable public company on earth, and has attracted huge attention from major financial sectors around the world, who are vying to attract the listing.

As it stands, the kingdom’s ruling family plans to list at least part of its business on Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange, the Tadawul, in 2018. It is then widely expected to list another segment on an exchange in an international financial centre – most likely be New York or London, but Hong Kong and Singapore are also thought to be contenders.

Saudi officials have also signalled that the company is not guaranteed to list shares outside of the Kingdom.

London in particular is lobbying Aramco hard, sending numerous delegations to Riyadh in recent months to try and bring the listing to the London Stock Exchange.

Earlier this year, UK regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) proposed relaxing existing rules to allow sovereign-owned companies to list on the London Stock Exchange. The move is believed to be almost solely a means of making the UK more attractive to Saudi Aramco’s bosses.

You can read Bloomberg’s full report here.

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