State oil giant Saudi Aramco has appointed international law firm White & Case as legal adviser for its planned initial public offering (IPO), expected to be the world’s biggest, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The IPO, which Saudi officials have predicted will value Aramco at a minimum of $2 trillion, is expected to take place in 2018, with the government selling up to 5 per cent of the company.
Aramco declined to comment and White & Case did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
White & Case has a long-established relationship with Aramco, having advised on several of its projects in recent years. The most recent of these was a joint venture agreement with Indonesian state oil company Pertamina for a $5bn refinery upgrade.
Previous mandates include an advisory role on the structuring, tendering, development and financing of Aramco’s $2.1bn industrial gas complex in Jazan province and advisory services for financing the $20bn Sadara chemical complex developed in a joint venture with Dow Chemical.
The law firm is advising the company on “all of Aramco’s fundraising activities”, one of the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the information was not public.
Aramco is also working on a debut Islamic bond and plans to issue debt internationally at a later stage.
The company has appointed New York-based boutique investment bank Moelis as internal independent adviser in preparation for the IPO, sources told Reuters this week.
Aramco is also expected to decide as early as next week on the appointment of local and international banks to perform preparatory work for the IPO. Banks would be chosen as lead managers and bookrunners for the share offer at a later stage.