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The Aramco IPO Is Ready To Go... Again

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

Reuters separately cited three unnamed sources familiar with the matter as saying the initial public offering of the Saudi state oil giant will begin on the 3rd next month in order to give the organizers of the deal enough time to make sure there are sufficient anchor investors.

The agency then quoted Aramco as saying it “does not comment on rumour or speculation. The company continues to engage with the shareholders on IPO readiness activities. The company is ready and timing will depend on market conditions and be at a time of the shareholders’ choosing.”

The last few weeks have seen a flurry of updates about the IPO of the world’s largest—and most profitable—oil company. After numerous assurances from Saudi officials the deal would go ahead as planned, aimed at quenching concerns the IPO may be delayed indefinitely, in late September the Financial Times reported that the government was practically bullying wealthy Saudis into commitments to buy stock and to be anchor investors.

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Then unnamed sources said that Aramco may list more shares than it had originally planned. The initial plan was for 5 percent of the company’s stock, but now the company and the government are allegedly considering an amount double that to generate higher proceeds.

Then, this month, more news about a delay emerged. According to yet more unnamed sources who spoke to Reuters, the IPO would be announced after Aramco released its third-quarter financial results to sweeten the pot for international investors who have so far been wary of the benefits of buying into Aramco despite two hugely oversubscribed Saudi bond issues in the past few months.

Aramco has yet to announce the date when it will release these third-quarter financial results.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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