Saudi Arabia claims it is still committed to listing state oil company Saudi Aramco on local and international stock exchanges despite reports the expected float has been scrapped.
A Reuters report yesterday said a contract for financial advisers overlooking the planned initial public offering has not been renewed since June.
A senior analyst told the news agency that the decision to call off the IPO was made some time ago.
However, today Saudi Arabia’s energy minister and Aramco chairman Khalid al-Falih dismissed speculation the IPO has been called off.
In a statement, the energy minister says: “The government remains committed to the IPO of Saudi Aramco at a time of its own choosing when conditions are optimum.”
He says: “This timing will depend on multiple factors, including favourable market conditions, and a downstream acquisition which the company will pursue in the next few months, as directed by its board of directors.”
In May, the energy minister said the IPO will “most likely” happen in 2019, which at the time already marked a delay against the initial plans to list the company in 2018.
Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman announced plans to float five per cent of Aramco shares on Tadawul and one international stock exchange in 2016.
Theresa May and then London Stock Exchange chief executive Xavier Rolet visited Saudi officials in the capital of Riyadh in a bit to lure Aramco to list on the London Stock Exchange last year.
The FCA also created new rules to allow state-owned companies to list under “premium listing” without having to meet its corporate governance criteria, which would pave the way for Aramco’s listing in London prompting criticism.