Goldman Sachs has bought in the secondary market part of Saudi Aramco’s US$10-billion revolving credit facility as the U.S. investment bank vies for a role in what would be the world’s biggest IPO when the Saudis list 5 percent of their oil giant next year, Reuters reported on Thursday, quoting sources familiar with the deal.
Goldman Sachs is said to be following the common market practice of establishing relations with a company via a loan transaction, before entering in other deals.
According to two of Reuters’ sources, Goldman Sachs bought several million dollars of Aramco’s US$10-billion revolving credit facility from Australia and New Zealand Banking Group.
Saudi Aramco signed the credit facility with 27 banks in March 2015. The list of the banks that signed the original loan included American, European, Asian, and Middle Eastern banks, but not Goldman Sachs. But units of banks such as Citi, Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas, JPMorgan Chase, and HSBC were part of the original list.
According to Reuters’ sources, Goldman Sachs has been “shopping around” to gauge if other banks would be willing to exit the facility.
In March this year, Reuters reported that Aramco had formally appointed JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and HSBC to be international financial advisers for the IPO.
Now Goldman Sachs is expected to join those three banks in the capacity of a global coordinator and bookrunner, two of Reuters’ sources said.
As for the IPO venue, recent reports suggest that Saudi Arabia’s advisors favor London over New York for the listing. Meanwhile, in the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is proposing to amend listing rules that would accommodate Aramco, but the proposal faces criticism by money managers and leaders who see the change as compromising London’s reputation.
Aramco wants to sell just 5 percent, but under FCA rules, a company qualifies for a premium listing only if it has a minimum 25 percent free float, meaning that Aramco’s 5-percent listing would fall significantly short of qualifying—that is, unless the listing rules were changed to accommodate it.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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