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Aramco 'planning to list on local exchange'

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Aramco had previously discussed an IPO in the latter half of 2018 and had been eyeing a listing in New York or on another international exchange. The oil giant is now concerned over the legal risks of listing in New York.

New York

SAUDI Arabia plans to sell shares of Saudi Aramco on a local exchange and may scuttle entirely an earlier plan for an overseas listing, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

Aramco had previously discussed an initial public offering in the latter half of 2018 and had been eyeing a listing in New York or on another international exchange.

However, the oil giant is now contemplating listing on a domestic stock exchange, viewing the legal risks of listing in New York as considerable, said The Journal, which cited unnamed officials as well as some public comments from top Saudi officials.

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The report also said the earliest a listing could take place would be April 2019.

The report comes as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman prepared to meet President Donald Trump on Tuesday. Mr Trump had publicly lobbied for a US Aramco listing.

The Aramco IPO had previously been seen as potentially raising US$100 billion, but higher oil prices have helped mitigate the need for additional funds, The Journal said.

The IPO forms the cornerstone of the petro-state's reform programme to wean the economy off its reliance on oil revenues.

Until 2014, oil income made up more than 90 per cent of public revenues in Saudi Arabia.

But following a protracted global oil slump, the kingdom is seeking to diversify its economy and privatise some state assets alongside new measures such as a value-added tax. AFP

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