Saudi Aramco, the world’s most profitable company, is once again preparing for its potential initial public offering (IPO), Bloomberg reported.
This highly anticipated IPO is a cornerstone of the Saudi Vision 2030 to modernize and diversify the kingdom’s economy. It was announced in 2016 and scheduled for H2 2018.
The first time Aramco sold bonds was in April, and the huge demand for Aramco’s bond offering allowed it to borrow at a lower interest rate.
The IPO process “was never fully suspended,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said after the ministerial meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies.
Aramco had been focusing on the acquisition of the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), the minister noted.
“Now that all these issues have been cleared, the SABIC transaction, the bond offering which was extremely successful, we believe we are ready to start planning for the IPO of Aramco,” Al-Falih added.
It is worth noting that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, recently expressed his commitment to go through with the IPO of Saudi Aramco. “We are committed to the IPO of Saudi Aramco, but under the appropriate circumstances and in a timely manner,” the Crown Prince said in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat in June.
The Crown Prince reiterated his previous expectation that the IPO will happen between 2020 and the beginning of 2021, however, he did not disclose further details on setting the stock exchange, where the IPO will take place.
Saudi Arabia targets to raise a record $100 billion by selling a 5% stake in Aramco. The plan is based on the ability of the kingdom to reach the $2 trillion valuation it has been seeking for the company.
Aramco is waiting until the SABIC acquisition is completed before conducting the IPO.
Saudi Aramco recently revealed that its first-ever earnings call has been scheduled for August.
The company announced in April that it has achieved a net income of around $111 billion during 2018, making it the world’s most profitable company.