Wall Street and LSE vying for Saudi Arabia's £56bn Aramco listing

Aramco IPO is expected to be the largest in history

Just days after US President Donald Trump made a public appeal to Saudi Arabia to list national oil company Saudi Aramco’s shares in New York, a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May has today confirmed that London Stock Exchange (LSE) has also made a “very strong case” for Aramco to list its shares in Britain.

“Obviously there are lots of big stock exchanges which have an interest in Aramco including the London Stock Exchange which we believe has made a very strong case for it being based here,” the spokesman told media, just days after Trump tweeted: “Would very much appreciate Saudi Arabia doing their IPO of Aramco with the New York Stock Exchange. Important to the United States!”

The Saudi government is seeking to raise money by planning to sell about 5 per cent of Aramco next year, in a sale which could raise about US$100bn in revenue for the Saudi kingdom. If listed in London, it could be worth up to £56bn for the LSE.

The proposed share flotation will see 5 per cent of the state-owned company sold in the IPO, expected to be the largest in history.

May had met the boss of Saudi Aramco earlier this year where she held talks with chairman Khalid Al-Falih, who is also Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, and was joined at the meeting by Xavier Rolet, chief executive of the LSE.

In a related development, the price of oil has risen to its highest point in two years, as Saudi Arabia’s heir to the throne, Mohammed bin Salman, gets rival princes, government officials and military leaders arrested as part of an anti-corruption probe. Aramco’s IPO next year is part of bin Salman’s plan to overhaul the economy and create new jobs outside the oil industry.

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