Saudis Said to Weigh Delaying International Part of Aramco IPO



(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia is considering selling shares in state oil company Saudi Aramco in Riyadh next year while delaying the international portion of the initial public offering until 2019, according to people familiar with the situation.

A two-stage IPO is one of several options being considered and the government may yet proceed with its original plan of simultaneous listings at home and abroad next year, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private deliberations.

Saudi Arabia said earlier this month that schedule for the blockbuster initial public offering of its state-owned oil giant wasn’t “slipping,” with the kingdom still targeting a sale by the end of 2018.

The government is “moving right ahead” for an IPO of Saudi Aramco in the second half of next year, Oil Minister Khalid Al-Falih said in Moscow. “There is nothing to indicate that schedule is slipping in any way.”

The possible delay to the international offering was reported earlier by the Financial Times.

The sale of 5 percent of Saudi Arabian Oil Co., as Aramco is formally known, is the cornerstone of the country’s Vision 2030, a much wider plan conceived by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to reshape the economy and diminish its dependence on oil. The government has said the sale could value the company at as much as $2 trillion, though analysts have tended to give lower estimates.

If Saudi Arabia achieves its $2 trillion valuation, the 5 percent stake it plans to sell would raise about $100 billion. That would eclipse the $25 billion raised by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in 2014, the current record.

To contact the reporters on this story: Javier Blas in London at jblas3@bloomberg.net; Dinesh Nair in London at dnair5@bloomberg.net. To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net.



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