FILE - In this Oct. 22, 2018, file photo, Saudi employees print badges of participants of the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Lured by a long-looming stock offering of Saudi Arabia's massive state-run oil company, investors and business leaders have returned to the kingdom's capital for an investment forum overshadowed last year by the assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

Saudi-owned TV: Public offering for Aramco in December

October 29, 2019 - 3:58 am

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — The long-planned initial public offering of a sliver of Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco will begin this December, a Saudi-owned satellite channel reported on Tuesday, at the start of the kingdom's marquee investment forum.

The report by Dubai-based Al-Arabiya offered a crackle of life as the Future Investment Initiative began in the kingdom's capital of Riyadh, an event created by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Prince Mohammed hopes Aramco will draw a $2 trillion evaluation, which would raise $100 billion needed to fund his ambitious development plans for the kingdom.

Stagnant global energy prices and a Sept. 14 attack on the heart of Aramco already spooked some. One ratings company downgraded the oil giant. Meanwhile, questions persist over how the initial public offering will be handled even as Saudi Aramco offers sweeteners and promises of an estimated $75 billion dividend next year.

The report by Al-Arabiya did not elaborate and cited anonymous sources for the information. However, the channel often breaks news before even the kingdom's state-run media and is widely believed to have a direct line to the Al Saud royal family.

The channel's English arm elaborated, saying that a final price for the stock will be set Dec. 4, with shares then beginning to be traded on the Riyadh-based Tadawul stock market on Dec. 11. It added that the Saudi Capital Markets Authority will make a formal announcement about the IPO plans on Sunday.

"The Aramco IPO is a cornerstone of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 plan, which aims to wean the kingdom off its reliance on oil to diversify the economy," the channel said in its report.

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