Saudi Aramco confirms it's studying potential share sale
Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 9
Saudi Arabian Oil Co. confirmed it's considering an initial public offering, which could see the crude producer leapfrog Apple Inc. as the world's biggest listed company, Bloomberg reported.
The company, known as Aramco, is studying whether to list "an appropriate percentage" of shares of the parent or a bundle of "downstream" units, according to an e-mailed statement Friday. The findings of the review will be presented to the board of directors, which will make recommendations to the company's Supreme Council, Aramco said.
Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in an interview with The Economist published Thursday that the kingdom was considering an Aramco IPO as part of a broader package of economic reforms, comparing his plans to Margaret Thatcher's shakeup of the British economy in the 1980s.
The company controls about 10 times the oil reserves held by Exxon Mobil Corp. and could be worth more than $2.5 trillion, according Danilo Onorino, portfolio manager at Dogma Capital SA, a family office in Lugano, Swtizerland.
The IPO proposal is consistent with the broader direction of economic reform in the kingdom, including state asset sales and market deregulation, Aramco said. Bringing in investors would also strengthen the company's focus on long-term growth and the prudent management of its reserves, according to the statement.