London has made it onto the shortlist for potential listing venues for Saudi Aramco, as the state-backed oil giant looks to list in late 2018, according to reports.
New York and Hong Kong are also on the shortlist, with a dual- or even triple-listing on the cards, according to Reuters.
Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul exchange will also be involved in the initial public offering (IPO), Reuters said.
The highly anticipated listing has attracted intensive lobbying of the Saudi Arabian regime. Heads of state try to win a chunk of what is expected to be one of the largest listings ever, if it achieves a valuation anywhere near the $2 trillion (£1.5 trillion) ambition of Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, known as MBS.
In November US President Donald Trump called for the IPO to take place in New York, while Prime Minister Theresa May has also lobbied directly on behalf of the London Stock Exchange. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority is also in the process of consulting on rule changes which would make it easier for Saudi Aramco to list in the UK.
The final decision on the location will be made by the crown prince, Reuters reported.
The plan to sell the stake of around five per cent of Aramco is part of MBS’s ambitious Vision 2030 plan, in which the Kingdom will try to diversify its economy away from its current dependence on oil revenues.
Saudi authorities are currently in the process of appointing bankers to run the process, according to reports this week, with Goldman Sachs, Citi, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and HSBC all believed to be in the running for a role.