Aramco says huge listing of shares on the right track

Reuters

Saudi Aramco has insisted that its plans for what will probably be the world’s largest stock market to stay on the right track.

There are reports of Aramco could leave aside the initial public offering (IPO) in favour of the private share placings.

But it belongs to the state, the oil giant said that the timetable £1.5 trillion of dual listing on Saudi arabia and a share market is still scheduled for 2018.

The London stock Exchange is the marriage proposal to Aramco, but the movement is controversial.

The weekend, the Financial Times reported that Aramco is planning to stop flotation in favour of the sale of shares privately to the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds and institutional investors.

The sale of a 5% stake in Aramco, is at the centre of the Saudi arabia government’s economic reform plans. But on the other hand the registration to open the company to greater international regulation and examination.

In the UK, Mps have expressed concern that the regulatory agencies are prepared to water down the rules of corporate governance in order to meet the huge Aramco, the flotation.

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New York city is another destination list, but the FT said that some members of the Saudi royal family are worried about legal risks, citing US terrorism legislation that would allow citizens to sue Saudi Arabia.

Aramco has rejected talk of shelving the flotation as “pure speculation”. The company said on Twitter: “All list of sites in the course of examination by optimal decision, the IPO process is on track for 2018.”

A company spokesman later said: “A range of options for the public listing of Saudi Aramco, continues to be held in the study… No decision has been made and that the POPE is on the right track.”

The end of the Twitter post by @Saudi_Aramco

London listing rules of the state that more than 25% of a company’s shares must be listed. The idea is to stop a single shareholder having too much influence.

But Aramco is planning to sell only 5% of the company, raising concerns about London having to work around the rules.

Friday, the head of the Financial Conduct Authority, the City regulator, admitted at the meeting of the Aramco officials earlier this year to discuss a listing review.

Andrew Bailey, said: “We can confirm that we have had conversations with Saudi Aramco and their advisers in light of their interest in a possible UK list in the first part of this year.

“We have pointed out in the course of these conversations that we were in the process of reviewing the listing regime.”

Mr. Bailey has been written in response to a letter from Nicky Morgan, chairman of the Treasury Committee.

She said in her letter that “questions remain about the level of political commitment in the consultation… The UK’s world-class reputation for maintaining a solid corporate governance should not be diluted.”

The comments come as the government seeks to demonstrate that the UK is a good place to invest as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.