Saudi Arabia to delay public listing of state oil giant until at least next year

The public offering of the world’s most-valuable oil company, Saudi Aramco, is likely to be postponed until 2019 at the earliest, according to British officials, as quoted by the Financial Times.

The world’s biggest corporate float was projected to hit the market in the second half of this year. However, advisers of the IPO (initial public offering) are still struggling to achieve the two-trillion dollars valuation sought by the oil kingdom’s authorities. The London Stock Exchange still has a strong chance to host the highly-evaluated listing, according to the unnamed officials close to the issue.

New York and London have become front-runners to secure the historic IPO, as well as a Riyadh listing. Last week, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih voiced concerns about the potential risks connected to choosing New York as the venue for the market listing. The minister called “litigation and liability” as big concerns in the US.

“Quite frankly, Saudi Aramco is too big and too important for the kingdom to be subjected to that kind of risk,” al-Falih told in interview with CNN.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that the minister also suggested that the listing might be postponed. The delay is seen as a setback for the oil-rich kingdom, which is trying to reform its energy-dependent economy with the Aramco IPO seen as a key pillar in the project.

The state-run energy giant reportedly plans to sell about 5 percent of its assets in the IPO. The planned float may help Saudi Aramco to boost its business in line with market principles and establish effective partnerships with private-sector corporations across the globe.

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