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Saudi Arabia not ready for Aramco IPO this year

13 March 2018

British officials have been informed by their Saudi counterparts that oil giant Saudi Aramco's IPO-ARMO.SE initial public offering is likely to be delayed until 2019, the Financial Times reported. Last week, Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told CNN that the risk of litigation after Congress passed a post-9/11 law allowing US citizens to sue Saudi citizens is too great for a company the size and importance of Aramco. If so, it would represent a setback for the world's largest oil producer's efforts to reform its economy, as the Aramco IPO is seen as a linchpin in its strategy.

Saudi Aramco, the state-owned Saudi Arabian oil giant, had meant to go public in late 2018, but is likely to push back its IPO into next year due to difficulties in setting up the complex offering, which is valued at an estimated $2 trillion, FT reported Sunday.

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After months of tireless assurances by Riyadh officials that the Aramco listing is going according to plan and will take place as scheduled in the second half of this year, now the Financial Times has let the cat out of the bag. London's prospects for getting the Aramco listing were still solid, FT said.

London will compete with NY for the $2trn foreign flotation, along with a Riyadh listing.

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If Saudi Arabia opted to list shares of the company overseas, officials that spoke with FT said they expected a domestic and foreign listing to occur at roughly the same time, potentially in the first half of next year, the paper said. Hong Kong has also been cited as an option for the company.

Preparatory work on the part of Aramco has also been slow.

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Saudi Arabia not ready for Aramco IPO this year