Saudi Aramco further delays IPO into 2019 – Concerns related to political uncertainties and interferences

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According to UK officials who share close ties with Aramco executives, further delays can be expected to the second half of 2019 instead of the end of this year.

Perhaps this was expected due to many reasons, particularly the uncertainties, as the best avenue or stock market has to be chosen which can be either the New York Stock Exchange or London Stock Market. The risk may be more in the USA.

The concerns are related to political uncertainties and interferences. London may be safer but local Riyadh Stock Market would be the safest as an initial offering with the involvement of overseas Asian investors.

Saudi Aramco is seeking market value for all its oil assets of $2 trillion for their total oil reserves of crude oil, local and overseas refineries of joint upstream and downstream covering gasoline service stations as well.

Saudi will sell five percent of all assets, which are estimated to be worth $100 billion, as an initial IPO offer in the international market. Now it seems its bookkeeping is not complete and it may take a long time to process if it has to register in London\New York stock markets.

The task is hard and very challenging. It needs detailed auditing for every single item, besides exposing Saudi oil reserves to daily accounts and transactions of the highest standard along with the annual audited accounts of the past years. This could take more than ten years. This is in addition to the non-core activities that Saudi Aramco has been embarking on based on the request of Saudi government to build stadiums, sports facilities, universities and others as directed by the government.

It is very difficult to achieve the desired number of $100 billion for its initial five percent offering, while oil market has embarked with uncertainties of the booming shale oil production, and with the American producers expected to be No. 1 oil producers by the end of next year. This will put more pressure on oil prices and its future directions. Being within the range of $65 per barrel will never be in favor of desired amount of $100 billion.

The road is long towards registering in international stock markets, but local Riyadh Boursa is much easier as it is under Saudi rules and regulations, and will not witnessed any outside interferences. With it, Aramco can attract some Asian Sovereign Wealth Funds but it must be transparent and openly.

Next step is to put Saudi Aramco under local Riyadh Boursa and avoid any unnecessary outside interferences but this will not fully serve the main intention of bringing foreign investors into the country.

email: [email protected]

By Kamel Al-Harami – Independent Oil Analyst



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