More Than 5% of Aramco May Be Offered Beyond IPO

More Than 5% of Aramco May Be Offered Beyond IPOMore Than 5% of Aramco May Be Offered Beyond IPO

Saudi billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal on Monday floated the idea that the kingdom could publicly list a bigger portion of its state oil giant Saudi Aramco in the coming years.

“No one talks about this idea that if you go 5%, there is nothing that prohibits you from going another 5% next year, and 5% the third year and fourth year, and so forth, depending on the situation,” he told CNBC on Monday from the headquarters of Kingdom Holdings in Riyadh.

“Now, I know this is our treasure, and we have to keep it, but that treasure also needs to support the country,” he added in an exclusive interview with CNBC.

Saudi Arabia aims to launch an initial public offering for Saudi Aramco next year and is expected to offer about 5% of the company to investors.

On Sunday, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser told CNBC the listing is on track for the second half of 2018.

During the interview, Nasser denied reports that Saudi Aramco is considering shelving the IPO in favor of selling private shares to big institutional investors or sovereign wealth funds, the investment funds that manage nations’ money. He also swatted down rumors that China is a leading contender for such an investment.

“Even if Saudi Arabia did seek a large investor in Saudi Aramco prior to the listing, it would not necessarily delay the IPO. In fact, it might expedite the process by confirming the price that Saudi Aramco is seeking,” Alwaleed said on Monday.

“I am not a member of the government but I read these reports, and I will not be surprised if China will be looking at this opportunity because China depends on oil and will depend on oil for a long time to come. And Saudi Arabia is an anchor exporter of oil to China.”

The kingdom aims to raise about $100 billion by taking a portion of its state oil giant Saudi Aramco public. The funds will underwrite an effort led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to diversify the nation’s economy through a plan called Vision 2030.

The precipitous drop of oil prices from more than $100 a barrel in 2014 to roughly $55 today has hastened Saudi Arabia’s transition from a petro-state to a nation built on a broader range of industries.

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