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'Aramco prepared for IPO' - Amin Nasser

Boss of Saudi Aramco says state giant is getting ready for domestic and international listing

Saudi Aramco chief executive Amin Nasser has confirmed that the Saudi state oil company is making itself ready for a domestic as well as an international initial public offering (IPO), but made clear that the timing of the process will be decided by the government.

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Nasser, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, said the IPO will happen “very soon”, with the first listing likely to be local.

However, Nasser added that Aramco is also prepared for its international offering.

“We have always said Aramco is ready whenever the shareholder makes a decision to list and as you heard from his Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz that it is going to be very soon, so we are prepared and that’s the bottom line,” Nasser said.

Saudi Arabia is thought to be seeking to sell up to a 5% stake in Aramco by 2020-2021, in what could be the world’s biggest IPO.

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While Nasser declined to comment on how much of the Saudi Arabian state-owned oil giant would be listed on the local exchange, local media reports have suggested that 1% of the company is likely to be sold through the local route later this year.

A larger stake in the company is then likely to be offered in the international market after that initial process has taken place.

Saudi Aramco has been reported in recent days to be moving ahead with preparations for its IPO and is said to be finalising the roles banks will play in the offering.

Nasser also welcomed the recent appointment of Yasser al-Rumayyan as Aramco’s new chairman, saying he brings “a lot of riches” with his vast experience.

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Cabinet changes in Saudi Arabia earlier this month saw the promotion of Rumayyan, who heads the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund PIF, to the role of new Aramco chairman.

Saudi Arabia’s new Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman also confirmed this week that his ministry will separate its role from the running of Saudi Aramco as the state oil giant prepares for its IPO.

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