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Saudi Aramco's IPO coming soon: energy minister

The initial public offering of Saudi Aramco -- the company that is preparing to sell up to a 5% stake -- will happen soon, the country's energy minister said on Wednesday.

The Aramco IPO is "going to come soon. It will come at the right time with the right approach and definitely with the right decision, and it will be a Saudi decision, specifically by [Crown] Prince Mohammed," Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told delegates attending the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh.

He didn't provide further details.

Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV channel reported on Tuesday that the local listing of Aramco will take place on December 11, with a final flotation price set to be announced on December 4.

The country's Capital Market Authority will announce the launch of Aramco IPO on November 3, according to an article on the TV's website citing unnamed sources on Tuesday. The report didn't mention the size of the stake to be listed on the local exchange, known as Tadawul.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said he wants a local and an international listing for Aramco, which he has valued at $2 trillion, but some analysts are skeptical the company could fetch such a price.

Saudi officials have yet to choose an international jurisdiction for Aramco, but Aramco CEO Amin Nasser has said the local listing will be the "primary" one.

The IPO, which was supposed to take place in 2018, was delayed partly to allow Aramco to finalize the $69 billion acquisition of a 70% stake in SABIC, the Middle East's largest petrochemical company, Saudi officials had previously said.

The Aramco IPO is a cornerstone of the Crown Prince's Vision 2030, the economic road map to wean the kingdom off oil income.

--Claudia Carpenter, claudia.carpenter@spglobal.com

--Dania Saadi, dania.el.saadi@spglobal.com

--Edited by Shashwat Pradhan, shashwat.pradhan@spglobal.com