The privatization of Saudi Arabia’s state-oil entity and world’s largest oil producer, Saudi Aramco, is going according to plan with the initial public offering (IPO) likely to be held in 2018, Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi, the country’s Minister of Commerce and Investment, said.
Al Qasabi said Saudi Aramco was planning to sell shares of its entire business and not just in its refining and distribution operations.
The year 2017 will be spent on finalizing the regulatory requirements, the prequalification and in financial preparations, Al Qasabi told Anadolu Agency in an interview.
If the floating of shares goes ahead, Aramco will be the world’s most valuable quoted company, surpassing Apple, Exxon and Google, according to analysts.
“We will be setting the stage this year and doing everything necessary for it to work in the best interests of Saudi Arabia,” he said.
Al Qasabi said the Saudi Arabian government was now carrying out the financial, corporate, business and legal due diligence work for the IPO of Saudi Aramco.
The privatization of Aramco comes as part of Saudi Arabia’s economic reforms for its “2030 vision” to generate revenues and reform its economy.
Some of the principles aim for the kingdom to become a "global investment powerhouse" and transform the country's unique geographical location into a global hub.
Saudi Aramco, which has reserves of 260 billion barrels, wants to increase its refining capacity to 10 million barrels of oil per day in the next 15 years to help with the vision, according to senior company officials.
- Company to announce international consultants
The company will soon announce a list of investment banks and consultants to advise for the IPO, Al Qasabi said but did not specify a time frame.
“We are using world-class experts and consultants to make this journey a successful one,” he said. “It is going in the right direction,” he added.
With regards to the recent news reports that Aramco was among the second-round bidders for OMV Petrol Ofisi AS, Turkey’s largest seller of petroleum products, Al Qasabi confirmed that Saudi Aramco was a global company interested in investments all over the world.
Petrol Ofisi is owned by OMV AG, central Europe’s biggest oil and gas company.
“Saudi companies would especially be interested in petrochemicals businesses in Turkey,” Al Qasabi said.
Aramco is looking at downstream opportunities in Turkey and signed a memorandum of understanding with 18 Turkish companies last month, the company announced.
By Sibel Akbay