Saudi stock CEO sees Aramco IPO as ‘certain’ despite delay

By BLOOMBERG

DUBAI • Saudi Arabia’s bourse is in no doubt that state-owned oil giant Saudi Arabian Oil Co (Aramco) will eventually list its shares on the local stock market following a delay in what was going to be one of the world’s largest initial public offerings (IPOs).

“I’m certain Aramco will join the market,” Khalid Abdullah Al Hussan, the CEO of the Saudi stock market, said in an interview in Riyadh yesterday. “The decision has been made to take the company public, and the government has announced, several times, that they are looking at the proper time for listing Aramco.”

Aramco’s IPO was put on ice last month, so it can focus on buying a stake in local petrochemical group Saudi Basic Industries Corp, or Sabic, for as much as US$70 billion (RM290.5 billion). Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said at the time that the government would pursue the share sale “at a time of its own choosing when conditions are optimum”.

Saudi officials were looking at raising as much as US$100 billion, based on a US$2 trillion valuation that some analysts have said was too high.

In the meantime, the bourse is pushing ahead with improvements to the local market to attract foreign investors, the CEO said.

It aims to start a derivatives market by the first half of next year with the trading of future contracts on an index it is jointly developing with MSCI Inc, he said, adding that the composition of the index hasn’t been determined yet.

Single stock futures and options are expected by 2020, Al Hussan said.