Saudi stock exchange will continue to develop its markets for Aramco IPO

Saudi stock exchange will continue to develop its markets for Aramco IPO

/ Financial News / Monday, 10 September 2018 09:01

The stock exchange in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has announced that it will continue to develop its markets for Aramco’s IPO - as part of the Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plans to diversify the country’s economy.

The Prince’s ambitious vision is to transform Saudi Arabia from an oil-based economy to a more technologically-driven country like the United Arab Emirates. One of the key components in the Prince’s strategy to diversify the economy in the KSA was the plan to sell a 5% stake in state-owned energy behemoth Aramco.

However, following a series of consultations with bankers and senior oil executives King Salman decided to shelve the IPO plan amidst concerns regarding its valuation and regulatory implications. However, the KSA still intends on listing the company on the Saudi stock exchange and its CEO told CNBC that it is well-placed to cope with the pressures and demands of the world’s largest ever initial public offering.

London has expressed an interest in having Aramco publicly listed on its stock exchange, as has Wall Street, but so far Saudi Arabia’s stock market is the only confirmed listing exchange thus far for the oil conglomerate.

"I think the Saudi stock exchange will continue to develop its markets to be ready for Aramco and other issues," Khalid Al Hussan, who heads the exchange, told CNBC.

Saudi Arabia hopes to attract a $2 trillion valuation for Aramco — the world's largest oil company — though some external observers have pegged its value at half that amount.

Amin Nasser, CEO of Aramco, told CNBC earlier this year that his company was prepared for a public offering in the second half of 2018, but was waiting for the government to choose an exchange. Indecision over the listing venue is widely thought to have snarled the process.

In addition to this, Saudi Arabia's stock exchange will introduce exchange-traded derivatives in the first half of 2019. On Tuesday, global index provider MSCI said it had agreed a deal with Tadawul following a number of negotiations to jointly launch a tradeable index.

An exchange traded derivative is a financial instrument that trades on a regulated exchange and whose value is based on the value of another asset. 

"The benefit is basically to offer more diversified products, specifically to institutional investors," Hussan said, before adding, "the inflow of capital depends on how attractive we are and that is basically why we are accelerating the derivatives.

The announcement of a tradeable index comes after MSCI officially classified Saudi Arabia's equity market as an emerging market in June. Riyadh's inclusion on the emerging market index is widely expected to attract billions of dollars of passive funds.

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