Saudi Aramco has reportedly invited pitches from banks to be coordinators and bookrunners for its planned initial public offering (IPO) scheduled for next year.
According to Bloomberg, which cites its sources familiar with the matter, Saudi Aramco has sent requests to banks recently, to form a group of banks to run the IPO process by ‘early next year’.
It is not known which banks have been approached, and those that have been contacted are understood not to have been told where Aramco plans to list its shares.
Bloomberg reports that Aramco has already worked with JPMorgan, HSBC, Morgan Stanley, and other smaller banks on initial preparations for the listing.
It is known that the kingdom’s government and Aramco’s management plans to list at least part of its business on Saudi Arabia's stock exchange, the Tadawul, in 2018. It is then widely expected to list another segment on an exchange in an international financial centre — most likely be New York or London, but Hong Kong and Singapore are also thought to be contenders.
Saudi officials have also indicated that isn’t confirmed that Aramco will go for a part listing of its stock in a foreign stock market.
London in particular is lobbying Aramco hard, sending numerous delegations to Riyadh in recent months to try and bring the listing to the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
Earlier this year, UK regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) proposed relaxing existing rules to allow sovereign-owned companies to list on the London Stock Exchange. The move is believed to be almost solely a means of making the UK more attractive to Saudi Aramco's bosses.
In mid-September, London’s Lord Mayor Alderman Charles Bowman undertook a trip to the UAE, where he built the case for why regional companies looking to float shares, as part of the wider liberalisation-privatisation drive, should choose the LSE as a preferred platform, in apparent reference to Saudi Aramco.
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