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Saudi Aramco IPO: Canceled or not?

Ever since the end of last year, reports of Saudi Aramco canceling its decision to float shares have been taking rounds. Thursday morning, these speculations were confirmed by Reuters, which reported citing financial advisors, that the plan to float 5% stake was canceled some time ago, though the decision wasn’t publicly announced.

“…So statements are gradually going that way – first delay then calling off,” an unidentified financial advisor told the wire service.

Reuters added that the financial advisors, who were tasked with the IPO works, are now looking into the proposed purchase of Riyadh-based petrochemicals firm Saudi Basic Industries.

However, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister and chairman of Aramco, Khalid A. Al-Falih, has now come forward rubbishing reports that the IPO plans are abandoned.

In a statement, Al-Falih said, “The government remains committed to the IPO of Saudi Aramco at a time of its own choosing when conditions are optimum.” The minister did not divulge any hints on when the much-delayed public offering can be expected.

President Donald Trump had in 2017 tweeted that he would appreciate it if the listing happens in NYSE, saying it was important for the US.

The public listing of Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil and gas company valued at around $2 trillion, is touted as the biggest ever. According to Forbes, Aramco’s per-day revenue is estimated to be around $1 billion.

The floatation of the state-owned firm was part of the economic reforms introduced by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to diversify the economy and bring in stricter foreign regulations. The shares were expected to be floated in Riyadh stock exchange as well as one of the stock exchanges of New York, Hong Kong or London.

Also See: US sanctions turn death note to oil firms

These three exchanges have been, since the IPO announcement in 2016, engaged in a contest to snag the trillion-dollar listing. London stock exchange went to the extent of amending regulations to include Aramco, inviting public flak.

President Donald Trump had in 2017 tweeted that he would appreciate it if the listing happens in NYSE, saying it was important for the US.

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