Oil giant Aramco IPO by 2021: Saudi crown prince to Bloomberg

Riyadh: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that oil giant Aramco’s initial public offering will go ahead by early 2021 after reports emerged the plan had been scrapped, Bloomberg reported.

“I believe late 2020, early 2021,” Prince Mohammed told Bloomberg in an interview published late Friday when asked when he believed the IPO could be launched.

“The investor will decide the price on the day. I believe it will be above $2 trillion. Because it will be huge.”

The crown prince denied that the kingdom had halted the plan after a media report said that financial advisors working on it had been disbanded.

“Everyone heard about the rumours of Saudi Arabia cancelling the IPO of Aramco, delaying that, and that this is delaying Vision 2030,” he said.

“This is not right.”

The plan to float around five percent of Aramco — expected to be the world’s largest stock sale — forms the cornerstone of a reform programme envisaged by Prince Mohammed to wean the Saudi economy off its reliance on oil.

But Aramco executives have repeatedly cited unfavourable market conditions to push back the IPO, earlier scheduled for this year, with many observers sceptical whether the listing will happen at all.

The crown prince told Bloomberg that the IPO was “100 percent” in the kingdom’s interest.