First Published: 2018-03-27

CEO says Saudi Aramco 'should be ready' for IPO in 2018
IPO plan for Saudi oil giant is pillar of state's 'Vision 2030' reform programme.
Middle East Online

Aramco CEO Amin Nasser speaks at annual CERAWeek energy conference in Houston, Texas, on March 6, 2018.

RIYADH - The head of Saudi oil giant Aramco has said a much-anticipated IPO is on track for 2018, but declined to give a fixed date -- or venue.

"We should be ready for listing in the second half of 2018," CEO Amin Nasser told Bloomberg Television on Monday, conceding that the oil giant was looking at a "complex process".

"There's a lot of work that is still ongoing, the IPO is ongoing," Nasser said.

"The venue and the timing is the government... Don't forget this is a very complex process. Aramco's size and complexities is something that requires time."

Saudi authorities plan to list five percent of Aramco on an as-yet unspecified stock market, but the company has struggled to arrive at a $2 trillion valuation sought by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Investors are reportedly sceptical about the lengthy process of placing Aramco on a foreign stock exchange, potentially the largest stock sale ever, with New York, London and Hong Kong among the potential sites.

Nasser, however, said there was "a lot of demand for the listing".

Saudi Arabia's energy minister has raised concerns that litigation would complicate a listing in New York, although President Donald Trump has publicly lobbied for a US Aramco listing.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the company may scrap its international plans and opt instead for a domestic exchange listing.

London's Financial Times reported earlier this month that the IPO may be delayed until 2019 at the earliest, citing British officials briefed on the matter.

The Aramco IPO plan is a pillar of the petro-state's "Vision 2030" reform programme, which aims to wean the economy off its reliance on oil revenues.

Saudi Arabia, which counted on crude for more than 90 percent of its public revenues, has struggled to bounce back from a 2014 global oil market crash triggered by an output surplus.

The kingdom this year introduced a value-added tax for the first time in its history, along with new fees on its sizeable expatriate workforce, and it is opening up the ultraconservative country to tourism.


France, US clash with Iran over changing nuclear accord

Saudi Arabia claims killing of Yemen rebel leader

EU to Russia, Iran: Bring Syria to peace talks

Iraq's Shiites split ahead of crucial vote

Iraq’s ex-football stars from sports to politics

Turkey opposition journalists demand acquittal in terror trial

UN says Syria blocking humanitarian aid to Douma

OPCW experts visit second site of alleged Douma gas attack

Israeli policeman gets 9 months jail for killing Palestinian

US court rules for Arab Bank in precedent-setting case

Lebanese candidates pay hefty price for media coverage

Madani’s resignation sheds light on Iranian power play

Kuwait expels Filipino ambassador over treatment of workers

Syria aid donations for 2018 fall short of amount hoped

Growing anti-war sentiment in the US Congress could spell trouble for Trump

Liverpool’s Salah wins Israeli defence minister’s plaudits

Body of assassinated Palestinian driven through Malaysian capital

'Gap in perceptions' threatens wider Middle East war

UNESCO picks Morocco for project on prevention of violent extremism

Syrian regime retakes region near Damascus from rebels

Mogherini: Iran deal 'needs to be preserved'

Syria rebels prepare as Assad sets sights on next target

Iran's Rouhani questions 'right' to seek new nuclear deal

Trump, Macron call for 'new' nuclear deal with Iran

Syria's Idlib 'big new challenge' for international community

UNRWA chief says Palestinian aid $200 million short since Trump cuts

Bad memories resurface at Raqa’s mass grave

Turkey newspaper chief slams journalist terror trial

Setback for Yemen rebels after strike takes out leader

Saudi issues Islamic sukuk sale to finance deficit

Yarmuk, an epicentre of Syria's bloody conflict

Egypt’s Eurobond succeeds but risks remain

Egypt former anti-corruption chief gets five years jail

Philippines apologises to Kuwait over 'maid rescues'

Iran urges EU not to pay Trump ‘ransom’ over nuclear deal

UAE to finance project to rebuild Mosul's Grand al-Nuri Mosque

EU, UN begin major conference for Syria aid

New tensions rise between old rivals Turkey and Greece

Rouhani warns Trump against betraying nuclear deal

10 killed in Toronto “deliberate” van attack

Nine people killed in Toronto van attack

Yemen Huthi political leader killed in coalition raid

Syria security chief refuses Lebanon court appearance

Air raid kills dozens at Yemen wedding

Algeria draws Europe’s ire by cutting imports, boosting trade with China