Saudi regulator says approves Aramco share offering

Riyadh (AFP) –


Saudi regulators on Sunday approved state energy giant Aramco's request to make its stock market debut, firing the starting gun on the highly anticipated offering which could be the world's largest.

The Capital Markets Authority did not give any details of the Initial Public Offering (IPO) but it is expected to begin trading in mid-December.

The markets regulator "has issued its resolution approving the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco)... application for the registration and offering of part of its shares," it said in a statement on its website.

The sale, which could value the company at up to $1.7 trillion, is the linchpin of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's plan to revamp the economy and wean it off a decades-long dependence on oil.

Sources close to the IPO have told AFP that Aramco is expected to sell a total of five percent on two exchanges, with an initial listing of two percent on the Tadawul Saudi bourse in December.

That will be followed next year by a three percent listing on an overseas exchange, which has yet to be picked.

Aramco was expected to launch the first part of the two-stage IPO in October, but the process has been delayed, reportedly due to the prince's dissatisfaction with the valuation of the firm, which fell short of the hoped for $2 trillion.