Saudi Aramco denies it is planning to shelve $2 trillion listing

Saudi Aramco mulling shelving IPO

The Saudi government plans to sell about 5 per cent of Aramco, with London vying with NY as its preferred destination.

But he added: "Given the public discussion of these events, we can con- firm we held conversations with Saudi Aramco and their advisers, during which we emphasised that we were reviewing the listing regime".

Other potential plans include the domestic IPO and the sale of a private stake in Aramco to one of several "cornerstone investors", such as the Chinese government, according to the FT.

A private placement of shares in the state oil company to a Chinese investor is being evaluated as a precursor to the global IPO, according to two sources who spoke on condition of anonymity as the information was not public. "No decision has been made and the IPO process remains on track", a Saudi Aramco spokesman was quoted as saying.

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Regardless of any possible private sales, though, Saudi Aramco is reportedly still planning on listing shares on Saudi Arabia's Tadawul stock exchange next year - according to the unnamed sources, that is.

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

Over the weekend, the Financial Times reported that Aramco was considering halting a flotation in favour of selling shares privately to the world's biggest sovereign wealth funds and institutional investors.

It's hard at this point to say what's going on exactly, but I can't help but wonder if Saudi Aramco officials simply aren't keen to disclose how much of its reserves actually remain and/or are viable.

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