First shares in Aramco will be sold on Saudi stock exchange

Saudi state oil company Aramco's CEO Amin Nasser attends the 24th World Energy Congress (WEC) in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi on Sept. 10, 2019. (Karim Sahib/AFP)
Updated 10 September 2019

First shares in Aramco will be sold on Saudi stock exchange

  • State oil company’s IPO coming ‘very soon,’ chief executive says at energy congress
  • The planned IPO forms the cornerstone of a reform program Vision 2030

ABU DHABI: Saudi Aramco’s long awaited initial public offering (IPO) will take place “very soon” on the Tadawul, the Kingdom’s stock market, the state oil company’s chief executive Amin Nasser said on Tuesday.

There was also likely to be a later listing on a foreign market, Nasser said, but he declined to say where.

“The primary listing is to list locally but we are also ready for listing outside in other districts,” Nasser said at the World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi. “We are ready to list wherever shareholders decide.”

Nasser echoed remarks by Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, the Kingdom’s new energy minister, on the first day of the congress. “As you heard from Prince Abdul Aziz yesterday, it is going to be very soon. So, we are ready — that is the bottom line,” Nasser said.

His comments were the first confirmation by an Aramco official of a two-stage IPO, with the first tranche of shares — perhaps about 1 per cent of the company —offered to investors on the Tadawul.

New York, London and Hong Kong have all said they would like to stage the foreign tranche of the IPO, but Tokyo has also emerged as a strong candidate. There has been speculation the IPO would be announced at the Future Investment Initiative summit in Riyadh next month, but some bankers believe it could be unveiled even sooner.

“Listing even a small number of shares of Aramco on Tadawul will provide Saudi citizens with an opportunity to invest in the Kingdom’s crown jewel,” Ellen Wald, energy consultant and author of the book Saudi Inc, told Arab News. “However, there are risks associated with this, as Tadawul is a relatively small exchange and Aramco is a large company.”

The Aramco IPO is expected to be among the largest in corporate history, and a raft of global banks last week paraded their credentials to be chosen for the prestigious and lucrative jobs advising the company and the Saudi government on the share sale. Once the winners are named, there is little to stop the IPO process from beginning immediately.

Addressing the congress on Tuesday, Nasser also said there was no limit to the oil industry’s potential if it could meet society’s demand for “ultra clean” energy. “The world faces an incredible climate challenge and we need a bold response to match,” he said.


Singapore Airlines cuts capacity by 10%, freezes hiring as virus takes toll

Updated 25 February 2020

Singapore Airlines cuts capacity by 10%, freezes hiring as virus takes toll

  • The carrier has temporarily suspended more than 3,000 flights from February to end-May
  • Travel demand has been hit due to the virus and also as governments imposed curbs on movement to contain the epidemic

SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines has cut nearly 10 percent of its capacity, frozen recruitment for ground positions and deferred spending as it deals with lower demand due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.
The carrier has temporarily suspended more than 3,000 flights from February to end-May, accounting for 9.9 percent of the group’s scheduled capacity, said the memo sent to staff.
“We will continue to be nimble and flexible in adjusting our capacity to match the changing demand patterns in the market,” Chief Executive Goh Choon Phong said in the memo, first reported by the Straits Times newspaper.
“We have also proactively reached out to our suppliers and partners to discuss additional mitigating measures during this difficult time,” he said.
The coronavirus, which originated in China last year, can be transmitted from person to person and has killed more than 2,500 people and infected over 80,000 people, mostly on the mainland.
Travel demand has been hit due to the virus and also as governments imposed curbs on movement to contain the epidemic, forcing airlines to cancel thousands of flights.
Singapore Airlines, earlier this month, said it would cut capacity across its network in the three months to May including destinations like Frankfurt, Jakarta, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, Paris, Seoul, Sydney and Tokyo.
It did not provide details on what percentage of capacity would be cut at the time.
On Tuesday, Singapore Airlines said its CEO had sent a memo to staff, without detailing the contents.
It said it was closely monitoring the situation and would take any additional measures needed, but would not do anything to harm its long-term competitiveness.
Hong Kong-based rival Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. has cut 40 percent of capacity across its network due to the fall in demand associated with the epidemic and asked all its employees to take three weeks of unpaid leave.