Aramco Starts Early Preparations for an Overseas Listing

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Saudi Aramco is starting early preparations for an international listing, just months after the oil giant turned its record initial public offering into a domestic affair and sidelined global banks, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The world’s largest publicly traded company is in discussions with Wall Street banks to draw up scenarios for a second listing overseas, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Aramco wants to be ready to move ahead if Saudi Arabia’s de-facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, gives the go-ahead to proceed with the plans, the people said.

Aramco hasn’t set a timetable for the potential deal, the people said. An overseas listing is currently seen as unlikely to take place this year given market conditions and a weak outlook for commodity prices, according to the people.

Global equity indexes have slumped this week from their record highs, erasing this year’s gains amid concerns that the coronavirus epidemic is spreading outside of China and hurting corporate earnings. Shares of Aramco are down about 5% this year, giving the company a market value of $1.78 trillion.

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The oil producer is currently focusing on Asian exchanges as potential listing venues, though no final decisions have been made, the people said. Some banks that worked on Aramco’s $29.4 billion IPO last year are involved in the discussions, the people said.

Aramco, officially known as Saudi Arabian Oil Co., declined to comment.

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