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Russia Turns Its Back On The Aramco IPO

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF)—Russia’s sovereign wealth fund—will not make a huge investment in the listing of Saudi Aramco, although some Russian funds believe that the Saudi oil giant is an attractive investment, Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive at the RDIF, told Reuters on Wednesday.

“Definitely Russia will not be making a huge investment in Aramco because already it is quite exposed to oil,” Dmitriev said in an interview with Reuters in Riyadh.

However, Dmitriev noted, many Russian pension funds find Saudi Aramco’s listing a very interesting opportunity.  

“There’s definite interest from a number of Russian pension funds, a number of Russian investment funds and investment banks,” the head of the Russian sovereign wealth fund told Reuters.  

Separately, the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund—Norway’s US$1 trillion Government Pension Fund Global—doesn’t plan to invest in Aramco at all because Saudi Arabia is not part of its reference index, the fund’s outgoing chief executive Yngve Slyngstad said on Wednesday.

A giant firm like Aramco wouldn’t be a natural part of the Norwegian fund’s portfolio in emerging markets, where it has some small investments in Saudi firms, Slyngstad said, as carried by Reuters.

Related: The Biggest Oilmen Of 2018

For two months, Saudi Aramco has been rumored to be ready for what would be the world’s biggest initial public offering (IPO) ever. For weeks, Saudi officials have been expected to give the final go-ahead for the listing plan any day now. Every day reports swirl about the possible timing of the listing and reasons why the Saudis decided to delay the IPO yet again. One of the latest speculations is that the government will officially announce the intention to list shares in Aramco after the oil giant reports third-quarter financials, for which it has not publicly announced a date yet.

Aramco will float its shares on the local Tadawul stock exchange in early December, according to a report by a Saudi-owned TV channel from earlier this week.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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