Today, the boss of Saudi Aramco, the national oil company of Saudi Arabia, disclosed that its long-awaited float was still in the pipeline.
Amin Nasser, the chief executive of the company, said that the initial public offering (IPO) would “certainly” happen when the conditions are right.
In a talk in Abu Dhabi, Nasser said that Mohammed Bin Salman. the crown prince of Saudi, and Khalid al-Falih, the energy minister of the country, were aiming at a listing within three years.
In an interview with CNBC, he disclosed: “I think his royal highness and his excellency, the minister, talked about 2021. At the end of the day, the government will decide when the market is good.”
Saudi Aramco’s float generated excitement in bourses across the globe. It was first expected to take place last year, however, it has been progressively delayed to 2018, 2019 and now 2021.
The $2 trillion (£1.56 billion) price tag resulted in a competition between major financial centres, including New York, Hong Kong, and London to land the mammoth listing.
Nasser said that the amount of work done in the background as part of the preparations for the listing had been overlooked.
He stated: “We have a new concession agreement, the reserves were audited, the board was changed, there was a new tax regime signed with the government. There are a lot of reforms happening to list Saudi Aramco.”
Recently, Aramco announced that it was acquiring a stake in a Saudi-state-owned chemicals business called Sabic.
Nasser said that Aramco was still in talks to acquire Sabic and that the deal would further delay any float.
Recently, Saudi Arabia has been hitting headlines for the wrong reasons after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident journalist, in the consulate of Saudi in Istanbul last October.
The murder resulted in a pressure on western firms and governments not to do business with Saudi Arabia and not to attend the Future Investment Initiative (FII) investment forum that was held last month.
However, Nasser said that “During FII, we signed $34bn of deals with our partners, so the appetite is there.”