American investors will have a chance to own shares in Saudi Aramco, according to Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih.
The planned initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Saudi Aramco is a cornerstone of the Crown Prince’s economic reform plan, known as Vision 2030. The Saudi government hopes to raise as much as $100bn by selling up to 5 per cent of the company, valuing Aramco at $2tn.
Al-Falih is in the US as part of the crown prince’s three-week tour that includes stops in Washington and New York. His remarks echo comments made last week by Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan, who refuted a report earlier in the week that the country was only going to offer shares on its domestic exchange, Tadawul.
“We are assessing still international markets - New York, London, Hong Kong - and obviously the anchor market is Saudi Arabia, so no decision has been made,” Al-Jadaan had told Bloomberg Television.
Prior to the prince’s visit to the US, Aramco executives and Saudi government officials pitched their plan for what could be world’s largest share sale to some of the biggest US mutual fund firms and hedge funds, which evoked an encouraging response, news agency Bloomberg reported.
Energy Minister Al-Falih’s remarks about offering American investors a slice of Aramco come only weeks after he expressed concerns about listing the oil giant’s shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
“I would say litigation and liability are a big concern in the US. Quite frankly, Saudi Aramco is too big and too important for the kingdom to be subjected to that kind of risk,” Al-Falih has said in an interview to CNN during Crown Prince Mohammed’s London tour earlier this month.
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