Americans will have a chance to own shares in Saudi Arabia’s oil company, the nation’s energy minister said.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih also said some investors have been slow to sign on to the reform plan proposed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman because they are focused on dividends. “We are going to have to face that when we list Aramco and have a conversation about how much cash will be given to investors,” he said in a speech Saturday at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The initial public offering of shares in Saudi Aramco is a cornerstone of the prince’s reform plan — dubbed Vision 2030 — to transform the nation’s economy and society. Saudi officials hope to raise as much as $100 billion by selling up to 5 percent of the company, valuing Aramco at $2 trillion.
Al-Falih is in the U.S. as part of the crown prince’s three-week tour that includes stops in Washington and New York. His remarks echo comments made Wednesday by Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan, who refuted a report earlier in the week that the country was only going to offer shares on its domestic exchange. “We are assessing still international markets — New York, London, Hong Kong — and obviously the anchor market is Saudi Arabia, so no decision has been made,” Al-Jadaan told Bloomberg Television.
Prior to the prince’s visit to the U.S., Aramco executives and government officials pitched their plan for what could be world’s largest share sale to some of the biggest U.S. mutual fund firms and hedge funds and got a cool response, people familiar with the discussions said earlier this month.
Al-Falih said the crown prince will sign seven deals during his visit to the Boston area Saturday, covering energy, health care, renewables and prosthetics.