Saudi Arabia is planning to list state oil giant Saudi Arabian Oil Co. exclusively on the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) in 2019 amid legal concerns overseas and higher oil prices, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing government officials and others close to the process.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is set to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington on March 20, seems to have conceded that legal risks of a listing in New York could be "insurmountable," the report's sources said.
Rising oil prices have also bolstered Saudi Arabia's budget and have obviated the need for an international IPO for Saudi Arabian Oil, or Aramco, Saudi officials also said, according to the report.
New York, London and Hong Kong had been reportedly included in the shortlist of possible venues for the company's international listing, which was projected to raise as much as $100 billion. The oil producer was estimated to be worth as much as $2 trillion.
As Riyadh proceeds with the sole local listing of Aramco, it will take more time to decide whether an international listing still has merit, added the report, which also cautioned that the government could still move ahead with an international IPO in 2019.
CNBC News also reported, citing sources familiar with the situation, that Aramco's local listing is expected to take place first in the second half of 2018, followed by a possible international listing later.
In a statement, Aramco said "a range of international options are still being held under active review" in addition to a listing on its "home exchange" in Riyadh, according to the reports.