Aramco IPO Possible in US as Riyadh Plays Down Rift

Saudi authorities plan to sell less than 5% in Aramco stakes by 2018.Saudi authorities plan to sell less than 5% in Aramco stakes by 2018.

Saudi Arabia could still decide to sell shares of oil giant Aramco in New York, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said, even after the US passed a law that allows victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to sue the kingdom.

The kingdom is looking at markets from Hong Kong to New York as possible international venues of what could be one of the biggest share sales in history, al-Jubeir told a news conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Riyadh on Sunday. The decision is still a “work in progress,” he said, Bloomberg reported.

Saudi authorities plan to sell less than 5% in Saudi Arabian Oil Co. by 2018 as part of a plan by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to set up the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund and help reduce the economy’s reliance on hydrocarbons.

In addition to the Sept. 11 law, tensions have arisen over a US decision to block an arms sale to Saudi Arabia because of concerns about rising civilian casualties in the war in Yemen. Riyadh is backing forces of the government in exile in the oil kingdom against the Houthi  rebels. Al-Jubeir dismissed speculation that Saudi Arabia would reduce its US investments. “Saudi Arabia has tremendous investments in the United States and we review those investments on a regular basis,” he said. “There are issues associated with risk, but our objective is to increase those investments, we will not decrease them.”


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