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While media are reporting that Saudi Arabia has possibly called off the listing of its oil giant Saudi Aramco, officials from the Kingdom are affirming that the IPO will take place at a time when the government sees fit.
This week it’s the turn of Khalid Abdullah Al Hussan, the chief executive of the Saudi stock exchange Tadawul, to give assurances that what was tipped to be the world’s biggest IPO ever would still happen, despite the delays.
“I’m certain Aramco will join the market,” Al Hussan told Bloomberg in an interview in Riyadh on Wednesday.
“The decision has been made to take the company public, and the government has announced, several times, that they are looking at the proper time for listing Aramco,” said the CEO of the Saudi stock market that was set to be the primary listing venue of Aramco.
Last month, reports emerged that Saudi Arabia had called off its highly anticipated, US$100-billion IPO, Reuters sources said, with even plans to list the state-run oil company on its domestic bourse, Tadawul, being scrapped. The listing was expected to be the world’s largest IPO, and the Saudis pegged a large part of the Vision 2030 economic agenda on proceeds from it.
Saudi Arabia immediately denied the reports that the listing was canceled, with Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih saying in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency:
“The Government remains committed to the IPO of Saudi Aramco at a time of its own choosing when conditions are optimum. This timing will depend on multiple factors, including favorable market conditions, and a downstream acquisition which the Company will pursue in the next few months, as directed by its Board of Directors.”
Then, reports emerged that it was Saudi Arabia’s King Salman who has demanded that the Aramco IPO be called off, stepping in to shelve the plans of his heir apparent, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Reuters reported last week, quoting three sources with ties to Saudi government insiders.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.