Saudi Aramco said to be in stake sale talks with China investor

October 16, 2017 08:04
Saudi Aramco is reported to be evaluating a private share placement to a Chinese investor as a precursor to an international IPO. Photo: Reuters

Saudi Aramco is mulling the sale of some stake to a Chinese investor as plans for its international public offering are pushed beyond its 2018 target, Reuters reports, citing sources familiar with the matter.

A private placement of shares to a Chinese investor is being evaluated as a precursor to the international IPO, the report said, without offering details.

Aramco's IPO, expected to be the world’s largest stock sale, is a key component of the Saudi government's economic reform program which aims to diversify the kingdom away from its reliance on oil exports.

A pre-IPO placement will provide Saudi Arabia with cash to help implement the National Transformation Program, as the reform package is formally known.

Aramco's dual listing on the Saudi stock market, Tadawul, and an international exchange had been earmarked for 2018 by the Saudi authorities, with stock markets in New York, London and Asia all vying for the offering.

A decision on which exchange would secure the offering has still not been made, with top members of the Saudi royal family preferring New York and Aramco's financial and legal advisers advocating London, the report said.

"A range of options, for the public listing of Saudi Aramco, continue to be held under active review. No decision has been made and the IPO process remains on track," a Saudi Aramco spokesman was quoted as saying.

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