Oil giant Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering (IPO) is now almost certain to be delayed into 2019 after the kingdom’s Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al Falih said the postponement was “most likely”, according to multiple news agency reports.
Speculation has persisted for many months regarding the possible timing of the IPO with late this year seeming the preferred option for a time. There has also been discussion about where the flotation should be listed with the likes of New York, London and Hong Kong mentioned. It is currently thought the shares will be launched on the local Saudi bourse, the Tadawul, in the first instance despite concern from market analysts that the small domestic exchange might struggle to cope with the expected huge demand for the oil company’s shares.
Aramco is looking to sell a 5% stake in its business to raise around $100bn, according to its own calculations of the firm’s value, and this cash will be used to help propel the strategic drive for economic diversification in the kingdom.
Al Falih was reported as telling reporters, “we’re simply waiting for a market readiness for the IPO” at an economic forum in St. Petersburg.