£2trn listing

Saudi Aramco gets go-ahead for world’s biggest flotation

Aramco will be valued at about £1.5 trillion (pic: Aramco)

Saudi Arabia is finally bringing its state-run oil company to market in what will be the biggest ever initial public offering (IPO).

The public offering of part of Saudi Aramco will help Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s wean his country off oil and develop other areas of the economy.

He is hoping for a $2 trillion (£1.5tn) valuation for Aramco, which produces 10 million barrels of crude oil a day and provides about 10% of global demand.

Apple and Microsoft are each valued at $1tn (£7.7bn).

The prospectus for Saudi Aramco will be issued on 9 November, CEO Amin Nasser said on Sunday.

Aramco holds a monopoly in Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest exporter of crude oil.

Nasser said Aramco had been meeting investors locally and internationally and that the local listing would strengthen Riyadh’s Tadawul stock exchange.

Saudi’s state-owned TV channel Al Arabiya reported that pricing for the stock will begin on 17 November, a final price will be set on 4 December, and trading will commence on 11 December.

The Aramco IPO follows a number of false starts. The Saudi government initially discussed floating 5% of the company in 2018 in a deal that would raise as much as $100 billion.

It was looking at international markets such as New York or London, as well as Riyadh.But the project was shelved amid concerns about legal complications in the United States.

Martin Gilbert

Martin Gilbert: good value (pic: Terry Murden)

Gilbert urges investors to back UK assets

Fund manager Martin Gilbert has advised international investors to buy UK assets ahead of Britain’s departure from the EU.

The outgoing deputy chairman of Standard Life Aberdeen said the UK was ‘cheap’ and that UK-listed firms and British property were attractive at current values.

Mr Gilbert told a conference in Riyadh that he expects the General Election to lead to Brexit and more certainty for the City and that the general desite now is “to get the deal done so we can get on with investing money in high quality UK companies.”

The Future Investment Initiative, known as ‘Davos in the Desert’ was also attended by London Stock Exchange boss David Schwimmer; popstar turned entrepreneur and educationalist Will.I.Am; HSBC interim boss Noel Quinn; and Xavier Rolet, chief executive of investment giant CQS.

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