‘The government remains committed to the IPO of Saudi Aramco at a time of its own choosing when conditions are optimum,’ says Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih
File picture: An official of the Saudi oil company Aramco watches progress at a rig at the Al Howta oil field near Howta, Saudi Arabia.
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Thursday rejected reports that Aramco’s planned initial public offering had been scrapped.
“The government remains committed to the IPO of Saudi Aramco at a time of its own choosing when conditions are optimum,” Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih said in a statement.
The plan to float around five percent of Aramco – expected to be the world’s largest stock sale – forms the cornerstone of a reform programme envisaged by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman to wean the economy off its reliance on oil.
Falih refused to specify the timing for the IPO, reiterating that it depended on “multiple factors, including favourable market conditions and a downstream acquisition which the Company will pursue in the next few months”.
He did not elaborate on the acquisition but Aramco chief executive Amin Nasser last month confirmed preliminary talks to acquire a “strategic stake” in SABIC, the world’s fourth largest petrochemicals company that is 70 per cent owned by the government-run Public Investment Fund (PIF).
Nasser had acknowledged in an interview to Al Arabiya television that a potential SABIC deal would “affect the time frame for Aramco’s initial public offering”.