Kingdom weighs which international market to list shares of oil giant
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, April 5, (AP): Britain’s prime minister pitched the benefits of the London Stock Exchange during a visit to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday as the kingdom weighs which international market to list shares of oil giant Aramco in what many expect will be the largest public offering in history.
Theresa May made her pitch in the capital, Riyadh, during the second and final day of her visit. Saudi Arabia plans to list less than 5 percent of the world’s largest oilproducing company on the Saudi exchange and another international exchange, possibly by next year. May met with King Salman and separately with his son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also defense minister and second-in-line to the throne.
May’s Downing Street office said that in a meeting with Saudi Aramco Chairman and Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih she laid out the advantages of doing business in the UK The CEO of the London Stock Exchange, Xavier Rolet, was with her for the effort.
Her office said she “set out the sort of depth of expertise that there is in London and the UK in terms of financial services,” as well as “the depth of investment opportunities that there are in the UK.” The Aramco listing is gearing up to be the biggest flotation ever, with Saudi officials valuing the company at more than $2 trillion. The flotation is part of a broad effort to raise Saudi Arabia’s profile and boost government revenues after a sharp drop in oil prices hindered its ability to pay for large infrastructure projects and subsidies that citizens have come to rely on.
Saudi Arabia also spends heavily on defense, ranking as the world’s third largest military spender, with billions of dollars in purchases from UK manufacturers. Saudi Arabia is Britain’s largest Mideast trading partner, with British exports of goods and services to the kingdom topping 6.5 billion pounds ($8.1 billion) in 2015.