Saudi keeps options open on Aramco IPO

AFP , Saturday 14 Oct 2017

Saudi Arabia is keeping its options open on the sale of Aramco shares, a spokesman for the state-owned oil giant said Saturday, following reports that the IPO could be limited to the Riyadh stock exchange.

"A range of options, for the public listing of Saudi Aramco, continues to be held under active review," the spokesman told AFP, questioned on reports that sales on international markets would follow at a later stage.

"No decision has been made and the IPO process remains on track," he said.

Both the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times have reported that Saudi Arabia could shelve plans to list Aramco on international exchanges at least until a later stage.

The sale next year of just under five percent of Aramco forms the cornerstone of the oil-rich kingdom's reform programme to wean the economy off its reliance on oil prices.

Until 2014, oil income made up more than 90 percent of public revenues.

The kingdom has since concentrated on diversification, including plans to introduce value-added tax as well as the Aramco IPO.

Oil prices have partly recovered after major producers inside and outside OPEC, including Saudi Arabia, agreed last year to cut output by 1.8 million barrels per day.

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