Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering will take place in 2018 as planned and the listing venue will be revealed in due course, the company’s chief executive said in a CNBC interview broadcast on Monday.
“We have always said that we will be listing in 2018, and to be more specific, in the second half of 2018,” CEO Amin Nasser said, later adding: “The IPO is on track. The listing venue will be discussed and shared in due course.”
Aramco is preparing to list about 5 per cent of its shares in local and international stock markets. It has yet to choose an overseas market. Nasser rejected a report that China was emerging as a frontrunner in a possible plan to delay the IPO and sell shares to sovereign wealth funds, CNBC said.
“Saudi Aramco are not talking, as I said, to the Chinese or others,” he said.
Regarding the IPO process and possible venues for the listing, Nasser said all was still being considered.
“All of that analysis is being reviewed in detail … to make a decision at a certain stage, and we’re not going to be pushed, you know, by a journalist saying this needs to be talked about or not.”
Reuters reported last week that China was offering to buy up to 5 per cent of Saudi Aramco directly. The Financial Times reported earlier this month that the company was considering shelving IPO plans in favour of a private share sale to world sovereign funds and institutional investors.
Nasser also said Aramco will “meet all the requirements of that market in terms of reserve assessment” and other rules of the country where it chooses to list. He said Saudi Arabia was largely operating in line with its closest peers, such as Exxon Mobil and BP.
“I can say Aramco has always been run like a publicly traded company,” he said. “If you look at our governance, we have independent board members. Everything that has been done in the company is similar to any international oil company in terms of the way we do business.”
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said last year the country was considering listing about 5 per cent of Aramco in 2018 in a deal that could raise $100bn, if the company is valued at about $2 trillion as hoped.