Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering has been making more than its usual share of headlines this week, with the latest coming from the chief executive of Riyadh’s stock exchange Tadawul, who said he would vie for an exclusive Aramco listing. This, Khalid al-Hussan told the FT earlier this week, would put Tadawul on the global stock exchange stage and promote Riyadh as a capital markets hub.
This immediately raises questions about the international listing of the world’s biggest oil company in terms of reserves. Although Aramco has insisted that all is going as planned with the IPO and it is on track to take place in the second half of next year, there have been doubts. Earlier reports suggested Aramco may be considering shelving the IPO or delaying it. The Saudi company rejected these reports but it has not been very forthcoming with details about the progress in its preparation for the listing of the century.
About the international listing of 5% of Aramco’s stock, the company said it is reviewing a number of venues, including the London Stock Exchange, NYSE, and the bourses in Tokyo and Hong Kong. A New York listing is tricky because of U.S. legislation that makes Saudi nationals vulnerable to legal action related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The LSE has become the target of a legislative probe following revelations that the boss of the UK’s financial markets authority had met with executives from Aramco several months…