WSJ: Divide over listing location slows Aramco IPO

saudi-aramcoRIYADH: Saudi Aramco’s IPO-ARMO.SE planned 2018 public share offering is being slowed down by a divide between Saudi Arabia’s ruling family and executives of the kingdom’s state oil company over where to list its shares, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Aramco, formally known as Saudi Arabian Oil Co, was not immediately available for comment.

Executives at Aramco are pushing Saudi Arabia’s king and his son, deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, on the merits of listing the giant state-owned oil company on the London Stock Exchange, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Aramco executives believe that listing in the United States would expose the company to greater legal risks, including from potential class-action shareholder lawsuits, the newspaper said.

But, according to the report, the Saudi Arabian royal court favors the New York Stock Exchange, in part because of the kingdom’s longstanding political ties to the United States, and because the US market represents the deepest pool of capital in the world.

Saudi authorities are aiming to list up to 5 percent of the world’s largest oil producer on both the Saudi stock exchange in Riyadh, the Tadawul, and one or more international markets in an IPO that could raise US$100 billion.