Saudi Aramco confirms share sale being considered

For full coverage of business developments in Saudi Arabia, see MEED

Saudi Aramco, the government-owned oil company, said in a statement today that it is considering a public share offer.This follows the publication of an interview with deputy crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman with The Economist in which he said he supported the idea.

The statement said Saudi Aramco “has been studying various options to allow broad public participation in its equity.
This would be through the listing on capital markets “of an appropriate percentage of the company’s shares and/or the listing of a bundle (of) its downstream subsidiaries,” the statement said. “This proposal is consistent with the broad and progressive direction pursued by the kingdom for reforms, including privatisation in various sectors of the Saudi economy and deregulation of markets, which the company strongly supports.

Saudi Aramco said that, after studying the options, the findings would be presented to the board of directors, which would make recommendations to the company’s Supreme Council.

The council is chaired by Prince Mohammed and has overseen Saudi Aramco since it was separated from the oil ministry in April.

Prince Mohammed told The Economist that a share offer “is something that is being reviewed, and we believe a decision will be made over the next few months”.
Analysts say the kingdom would make only a small stake available to the public. The market value of the company could be as high as $10trn, some analysts say.