Saudi Arabia confirms Aramco listing

25 April 2016

The kingdom plans to list less than 5 per cent of the company as part of economic reforms

Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud has confirmed the kingdom’s plans to list less than 5 per cent of Saudi Aramco, the biggest oil producer in the world.

Prince Mohammed, who has been driving the country’s agenda to add new revenue streams and cut its dependence on sale of hydrocarbons for revenues, said a listing will value Saudi Aramco at more than $2 trillion and all financial information related to Saudi Aramco will be disclosed.

In an interview with Saudi-based Al-Arabiya television, the deputy crown prince said he intends to convert Saudi Aramco into a holding company. It’s subsidiaries will also be listed and its board will be elected.

The economic plan for the period to 2030 has been developed by the Council of Economic and Developmental Affairs. Prince Mohammed heads the council which is also manages Saudi Aramco.

MEED reported in March that as part of its reform agenda, the kingdom has identified about 146 companies that could be privatised or sold to the public to unlock value in government-owned entities.

Saudi Aramco is on top of list state entities to be privatised and the government has already appointed advisors for a share sale on Saudi bourse.

The kingdom could IPO Saudi Aramco as soon as next year or in 2018 and transfer the remaining ownership to Public Investment Fund (PIF) to inflate its size to about $2 trillion, which will make it the biggest state fund in the world, according to Prince Mohammed’s interview with US-based news agency Bloomberg.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Invetsment fund, which made returns of $8bn in 2015 will turn the kingdom into a global investment power.

The prince claimed the kingdom will be able to live without oil in 2020, and added that the economic vision would not be linked with the oil price.

“We have an addiction to oil,” he told Al-Arabiya. “This is dangerous… it has delayed the development of other sectors.”

The prince said that the kingdom will continue to spend on the Infrastructure projects and the country’s reform plan will not require major spending but will involve restructuring. The government would restructure the Housing Ministry to help more citizens buy homes.

The state subsidies should not go to the rich and the prince said he aimed to reduce unemployment among Saudi nationals to 7 per cent from 11.6 per cent.

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