Saudi Arabia denies cancelling Aramco IPO

‘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.

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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”.

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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).

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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”.

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