Saudi Aramco to give investors unprecedented access to its accounts

The firm is said to be aiming for a reporting format similar to multinational oil companies BP and ExxonMobil

State-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco will reportedly give investors unprecedented access to its accounts ahead of a planned initial public offering in 2018.

The world’s biggest oil producer is overhauling its accounts in preparation to publish figures for the 2017 financial year, according to the Financial Times.

Aramco also plans to show investors backdated accounts for the 2015 and 2016 financial years that could be released as soon as next year, sources told the publication,

The planned listing of 5 per cent of the company, announced earlier this year, is expected to value it at more than $2 trillion – several times larger than the world’s largest listed firm apple at $600bn.

Read: Saudi Aramco IPO to depend on oil, stock market conditions

Aramco issues production figures, revealing it pumped 10.2 million barrels a day last year, but has never issued financial statements.

Analysts estimate the firm generated higher revenues than Apple and Microsoft combined in 2014 before the oil crash began.

Disclosure of Aramco’s activities is deemed complex due to its involvement with the state and as a supplier of most government spending.

The firm is said to be aiming for a reporting format similar to multinational oil companies BP and ExxonMobil, disclosing revenue and earnings generated from oil production, refining and petrochemicals.

The IPO is expected to improve transparency at the company but some question how much information will be disclosed.

The FT said the company’s IPO team had commissioned current and historical profit and loss statements for each operating division.

Aramco’s valuation is also expected to depend on its dividend policy and how much it pays in taxes and royalties to the Saudi government.

However, the firm’s balance sheet is not expected to include the country’s oil reserves, chairman Khalid al-Falih has said.

Read: Saudi Aramco IPO will not include oil reserves – chairman

Sources told the publication that the company would likely favour an Asian bourse for a dual listing with the Saudi stock exchange, with Tokyo and Hong Kong likely targets.

London is also being considered but New York is said to have fallen out of favour after a US bill allowing the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia was made law.

Read: Saudi riyal falls, bond may be delayed after US 9/11 vote