Saudi Aramco delays planned IPO until after earnings update

Up until now the company has been fully owned by the Saudi Arabian government

Saudi Aramco was declared the most profitable company in the world after it published its financial results for the first time, disclosing that it made $111 billion in profits back previous year.

The Financial Times, which initially reported the IPO delay on Thursday, cited a source as saying the listing was delayed by "weeks". This might also well mean a delay until 2020. Aramco Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser said last month that the IPO would happen "very soon".

The world's most profitable company was expected to announce its plan to float a 1% to 2% stake on the Saudi Stock Exchange (or Tadawul) next week. The company is now focusing on initial public offerings, but yet to confirm the time frame. It's not known when Saudi Aramco will release its third quarter results, however.

It aims to raise up to $100 billion based on a $2 trillion valuation of the company, but investors have debated whether Aramco is worth that much and there have been repeated delays to the launch originally planned for a year ago. "Solid results after the attack will put them in a stronger position", said one of the sources.

This time Saudi Arabia opted for an easier route, deciding to start with a local listing only in Riyadh - ditching plans for a sale in London or NY - and enlisting local banks and wealthy families to support the IPO.

Saudi Aramco first meant to IPO in 2018 but postponed it after failing to agree on where to list.

The Iranian missile and aerial drone attack on Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq oil refinery and the Khurais oil field temporarily knocked out half the company's crude output.

In the recent development, Saudi Aramco has seen to be postponed its launch for initial public offering.

In the meantime, the company said IPO would be dependent on market conditions, even as it continues to engage with shareholders concerning the listing.



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