Aramco confirms IPO on track for 2018

Company dismisses reports of private placement as "entirely speculative"

A view shows Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq oil facility in eastern Saudi Arabia in this undated handout photo. Saudi Aramco/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE.
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Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest energy company, has confirmed its record-breaking public listing is on track for next year, dismissing media reports it was considering abandoning the process.

The Financial Times reported on Friday that Aramco was considering “shelving” its 2018 listing of approximately 5 per cent of its shares, a sale that is expected to raise about US100 billion, in favour of a private placement to sovereign wealth funds and institutional investors.

“[The] FT report on Saudi Aramco IPO is entirely speculative,” the company said in a statement on Twitter on Sunday.

“All listing venues under review for optimal decision, [the] IPO process is on track for 2018.”

Khalid Al Falih, Aramco’s chairman and Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, earlier this month said the government was “moving right ahead” for the IPO for the second half of next year, and that further details would be “announced in due course.”

The IPO of a 5 per cent stake in Aramco was announced in January 2016 by Mohammed bin Salman, the then deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia, and marks the cornerstone of the country’s Vision 2030 economic transformation programme, which will include a mass privatisation of state assets across all sectors.

Saudi Arabia has put Aramco’s total value at $2 trillion. A 5 per cent listing would generate around $100bn. This would easily surpass the $22bn IPO of Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba in 2014, which currently holds the record for the world’s largest ever listing.

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The company's shares will be listed on the Saudi stock exchange and a yet-to-be-determined international stock exchange, with New York and London the current front-runners.