Saudi Aramco heads for possible record-setting market debut

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(Dhahran) – Saudi Arabia announced the stock market debut of energy giant Aramco, in what could be the world´s biggest IPO, underpinning Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman´s ambitions to overhaul the kingdom´s oil-reliant economy.

After years of delay, Aramco said it plans to sell an unspecified number of shares on the Riyadh stock exchange, calling it a “historic” milestone for the world´s most profitable company which pumps 10 percent of the world´s oil.

However, the state firm did not set a date for the listing and said there were no current plans for an international stock sale, indicating that the long-discussed goal for a second offering on a foreign bourse had been put aside.

The launch, approved by regulators, forms the lynchpin of Prince Mohammed´s ambitious plans to steer the economy away from oil by pumping tens of billions of dollars into a host of megaprojects and non-energy industries.

With analysts saying that Aramco could be valued at up to $1.7 trillion, the initial public offering (IPO) is potentially the world´s biggest, depending on how much of the company it decides to sell.