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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Aramco IPO 'most likely’ in 2019, says Saudi oil minister

In March, Saudi officials had suggested the IPO could be delayed until 2019 

Saudi energy minister Khalid Al Falih attends a session of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia. Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters
Saudi energy minister Khalid Al Falih attends a session of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia. Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters

The initial public offering of Saudi Aramco will be "most likely" happen in 2019, the kingdom’s oil minister said on Friday, confirming a delay into next year for what’s likely to be the world’s largest ever share sale.

"We’re simply waiting for a market readiness for the IPO," Khalid Al Falih, who’s also the company’s chairman, said at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia on Friday.

In March, Saudi officials had suggested the IPO could be delayed until 2019.

The Aramco IPO would be a once-in-a-generation event for financial markets. Saudi officials said they hope to raise a record US$100 billion by selling a five per cent stake, valuing the company at more than $2 trillion and dwarfing the $25bn raised by Chinese retailer Alibaba in 2014.

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Others weighed in on the valuation, suggesting a figure much closer to $1tn, basing their calculations in part on the first set of accounts on the company revealed earlier this year by Bloomberg News.

The Aramco IPO is a major component of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to modernize the economy.

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