Thursday 27 June 2019

Saudi's Crown Prince pledges $2-trillion Aramco IPO by 2021

RIYADH, October 6, 2018

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman insisted the stalled plan to sell shares in oil giant Aramco will go ahead, promising an initial public offering by 2021 and sticking to his ambitious view the state-run company is worth $2 trillion or more.
The comments show 33-year-old Mohammed bin Salman’s determination to press ahead with the IPO even after Riyadh’s original timetable was undone by skepticism over the company’s valuation and a plan for Aramco to buy a controlling stake in the country’s biggest chemical producer, reported Bloomberg.
"I believe late 2020, early 2021," he said, discussing the timing of the IPO in an interview at the royal palace in Riyadh. 
"The investor will decide the price on the day. I believe it will be above $2 trillion. Because it will be huge," he stated.
The IPO project was first announced in 2016 as the cornerstone of the prince’s Vision 2030 plan to modernise the Saudi economy. 
Officials repeatedly said the deal was "on track, on time" for the second half of 2018, but earlier this year they said it would be delayed into 2019. 
Soon after, Aramco put the IPO on hold and instead started talks to buy a majority stake in local petrochemical giant Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic), a deal potentially worth $70 billion.
Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser had told CNBC last month that the IPO would be delayed indefinitely by the Sabic deal.
Despite the delay, Nasser said the government remained committed to taking a portion of Aramco public.
MBS said he expects the Sabic deal to close in 2019, after which Aramco will wait one financial year to launch the IPO.
Speaking late on Wednesday, surrounded by a handful of advisers, Prince Mohammed said the IPO was "100 per cent" in the nation’s interest.
"Everyone heard about the rumors of Saudi Arabia canceling the IPO of Aramco, delaying that, and that this is delaying Vision 2030," he said. "This is not right."
Prince Mohammed said the IPO’s delay had its origin in mid-2017, when it became clear that Aramco needed a push into petrochemicals. 
He said it would had been unfair to go ahead with the listing only to surprise investors soon after with a big deal in chemicals.
The Aramco IPO would be a seismic event for financial markets. Prince Mohammed said he hoped to raise a record $100 billion by selling a 5 per cent stake, dwarfing the previous record, set in 2014, when Chinese retailer Alibaba Group Holding raised $25 billion, said the Bloomberg report.
For Wall Street, it would be a money-maker, with banks from JPMorgan Chase & Company to Citigroup already working for Aramco. Yet, in a world moving away from oil, the IPO would be a test of the appetite of global for investors fossil fuels.

Tags: sabic | Saudi Crown Prince | Aramco IPO |

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