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No International Component to Aramco IPO a Possibility

Traders Magazine Online News, April 5, 2018

John D'Antona Jr.

After much ballyhooing and bellybucking, the mega Saudi Arabian oil IPO might not have an international component.

And if it does, some say that it will be held in London and not on U.S. shores.

Say it ain’t so, Joe.

The news of the change in listing for the sale of shares of Saudi Aramco Oil on a local exchange were reported to be the primary impetus behind the possible termination of an international component to the mega-offering. According to the Wall Street Journal, the legal risks of listing in New York were described as “considerable,” which cited unnamed officials as well as some public comments from top Saudi officials.

Also, last week’s classification of Saudi Arabia as an emerging market by the MSCI index for the first time, was interpreted as a key step toward the Kingdom's goal of attracting billions in overseas funding and an opening to list in London, rather than New York, should an international IPO of shares happen. Also, FTSE Russell announced that Saudi Arabia has been upgraded to “Secondary Emerging” in its Global Equity Index series. This too is seen as opening more doors for a slice of the Aramco IPO outside the U.S. 

Aramco is now looking at listing in April 2019 rather than the end of 2018, the Kingdom’s initial target.

The Aramco IPO had previously been seen as potentially raising US$100 billion, but higher oil prices have helped mitigate the need for additional funds.

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