Saudi Aramco might be delaying its initial public offering.
The Financial Times’ Anjli Raval, James Fontanella-Khan, Arash Massoudi, and Simeon Kerr report that the state-oil behemoth “is considering shelving plans for an international public offering in favour of a private share sale to the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds and institutional investors.”
Five people familiar with the situation said that talks with foreign governments — including China — and other investors about a private sale have recently “gathered pace.”
If the company decides to go for the private share sale option, the FT reports that an international listing could still follow, although probably not before 2019 or later.
Senior officials said earlier this month in Moscow that the plan to list Saudi Aramco in 2018 remains on track. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih, who is also Aramco’s chairman, said in October that the IPO would happen in the second half of 2018.
The plan to float about 5% of Saudi Aramco has long been considered a priority for the kingdom’s leadership. It’s part of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan, led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which aims to curtail the kingdom’s “addiction” to oil via various measures.
Mohammed bin Salman has previously suggested Aramco may be valued close to $US2 trillion, though investors have questioned whether the company will actually be valued at that price.
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