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The team in Riyadh planning Saudi Aramco’s 2018 initial public offering are torn between offering the listing to London or New York, according to anonymous sources that spoke to the Wall Street Journal this week.
Aramco executives insist on listing in London to avoid legal consequences from unstable American attitudes towards Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman leans towards New York, the financial hub with access to the most capital of all its counterparts.
A final decision regarding the location of the second listing, besides the one set for the KSA’s Tadawul exchange, had been expected before Ramadan. Two thirds of the Islamic holy month has passed, and bourses around the world are still waiting for an answer.
Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman spoke of the Aramco IPO – the largest in financial history – as a “major opportunity” during the finance major’s banking conference in New York today.
Last month, C-suite executives from Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, and Citigroup visited Saudi Arabia for a business forum and to encourage Riyadh to pick New York.
Emerson, an American technology and engineering firm, has also been strengthening its ties with Aramco. Two days ago, CEO David Farr inked a memorandum of understanding with the state oil giant to digitally transform its domestic operations.
"This collaboration will aid in strengthening the digital transformation of Saudi Aramco," Farr said. "More doors will be opened for developing talent and training our workforce across the kingdom.”
Aramco chose Emerson and a slew of other U.S. companies to increase participation in the Saudi economy after a rough patch in bilateral relations last year.
In September, the U.S. Congress overrode President Barack Obama’s veto on a 9/11 Victims’ Bill that allowed family members of those who perished in the 2001 World Trade Center attacks to sue Saudi Arabia for the incident. Riyadh threaten to rattle American markets by withdrawing major investments if the bill became law, but no such blowback has occurred so far.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…