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Saudi gas giant Aramco delays IPO

By Lawrence Gash

Investors want clarity on effect of terrorist attacks before listing

Saudi Aramco, the Saudi Arabian state-backed oil and gas company, has delayed the launch of its initial public offering, which was expected this week.

The decision, which jeopardises the expected November listing date, is thought to be linked to terrorist attacks on some of Aramco’s facilities, which temporarily halved the firm's output and pushed up the price of oil. In the circumstances, it is understood that both investors and investors and the company would prefer to wait for its most recent quarterly earnings report.

This is the second attempt to list Aramco in the past five years. The IPO prospectus was due to be released next week but will now be delayed by some weeks. Aramco is thought to have a $1.5tn valuation (£1.16tn), and its listing was part of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Saudi Vision 2030 plan, aimed at reducing dependence on oil

The Crown Prince originally wanted a $2tn valuation,but even at the lower figure, a listed Aramco would be the most profitable publicly traded company in the world, far surpassing current title holder Apple.

It is thought that the financial institutions advising on the IPO will earn more than $450m in fees. These institutions include JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Lazard.

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