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Jul 2018: Shares in Saudi oil giant ARAMCO on offer in 2018?

SAUDI ARABIA - The Kingdom might postpone the sale of 5 per cent of its shares in oil giant Aramco – potentially the world’s largest initial public offering (IPO) – from the second half of 2018 to 2019. The world is reported to be shifting away from oil, potentially impacting Riyadh’s hopes of earning as much as US $2 trillion from the sale.

The sale is a centerpiece of Vision 2030, an ambitious reform plan to diversify the Saudi economy beyond oil.

The Bloomberg news services suggests that one challenge to meeting the price goal will be convincing potential buyers that Aramco is such a compelling investment in a world that is gradually shifting away from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Britain’s Financial Times reports that the big oil producers dismiss predictions of collapse in demand, with Saudi Aramco and Shell playing down the impact of electric vehicles.

London and New York exchanges are vying for a role in Aramco’s offering, with Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and Toronto also trying to attract the sale.

The Kingdom’s plan to sell the shares on Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul exchange contributes to the uncertainty about the IPO date. Preparedness for the offering and willingness for a simultaneous or sequential flotation on a foreign exchange have been questioned, according to the Financial Times in March.


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