Stick­ing to 2021 time­line on Aramco IPO — Saudi min­is­ter

OIL GI­ANT’S PLANNED BOND IS­SUANCE EX­PECTED TO BE IN $10-BIL­LION RANGE

Gulf News - - Business - BY FA­REED RAHMAN Se­nior Re­porter

Saudi Ara­bia’s En­ergy min­is­ter Khalid Al Falih said yes­ter­day the King­dom is stick­ing to its 2021 time­line for Saudi Aramco’s ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ing (IPO).

He was speak­ing to re­porters on the side­lines of the At­lantic Coun­cil Global En­ergy Fo­rum in Abu Dhabi.

Dur­ing a speech at the event, Al Falih had said Aramco is the world’s most im­por­tant and valu­able com­pany and the re­vi­sion of oil re­serve es­ti­mates — fol­low­ing in­de­pen­dent cer­ti­fi­ca­tion by third party con­sul­tant — con­firms the high­est stan­dards of pro­fes­sion­al­ism by Saudi Aramco and the good gover­nance prac­tices of the Saudi gov­ern­ment.

‘Bodes well for plans’

“Aramco is in­deed the world’s most valu­able com­pany and the world’s most im­por­tant. This bodes well for the com­pany’s bond plans, which will be launched in a few months, ahead of the ac­qui­si­tion of Sabic shares from PIF [Pub­lic In­vest­ment Fund] and of course the IPO [which is] not too dis­tant in the fu­ture.”

When asked by re­porters how big the bond is ex­pected to be, he said it will be in the range of 10 bil­lion.

“We will de­cide within the next cou­ple of weeks,” he said, ■ with­out spec­i­fy­ing the cur­rency of the planned is­suance of the bond.

The Saudi oil gi­ant will is­sue the bonds in the sec­ond quar­ter of this year and they are likely to be de­nom­i­nated in US dol­lars, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by Reuters. Al Falih also said the gov­ern­ment would con­tinue to in­vest in the oil and gas sec­tor as per the King­dom’s pol­icy. Saudi Ara­bia first an­nounced plans for an Aramco IPO in 2016. The coun­try’s Crown Prince Mo­ham­mad Bin Sal­man pre­dicted the sale would value the com­pany at $2 tril­lion or more.

Sub­se­quently the IPO was put on hold last year due to ac­qui­si­tion plans of Saudi Ba­sic In­dus­tries (Sabic). There was wide­spread spec­u­la­tion the IPO might never hap­pen, but Khalid Al Falih an­nounced in Abu Dhabi yes­ter­day the IPO was on track for 2021.

Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Khalid Al Falih speaks Gen James L Jones Jr of the At­lantic Coun­cil on the sec­ond day of the At­lantic Coun­cil Global En­ergy Fo­rum in Abu Dhabi yes­ter­day.

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