Global banks will this week start making their case on why they should be hired for what’s set to be the world’s biggest initial public offering (IPO), according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Dealmakers representing advisory firms from around the world will from Tuesday travel to Saudi Aramco’s headquarters in Dhahran in the kingdom’s Eastern Province to compete for a role on the offering that’s planned for as early as 2020, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.
Aramco, which posted a profit of $46.9 billion in the first six months, has revived its much anticipated share sale after shelving plans to focus on its acquisition of a 70% stake in Saudi Basic Industries Corp. Lazard Ltd. and Moelis & Co. have restarted preparatory work and are expected to play a key role in the listing, including in the selection of underwriters and venues.
The company has invited more than 20 advisory companies from the US, Europe and Asia to compete, including some of the world’s biggest underwriters as well as a number of smaller banks, a person familiar with the matter said last week.
A spokesman for Aramco didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The company recently said it “continues to engage in IPO readiness activities” and is ready for a share sale that will take place “at a time of the shareholder’s choosing.”
While Aramco has yet to make a decision on a listing destination, top officials from the exchanges in London, New York and and Hong Kong have been actively pitching the oil giant in recent weeks.
The IPO project was first announced in 2016 as the cornerstone of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan to modernise its economy, with a target of listing in the second half of 2018. The oil producer was originally working with Evercore Inc. and Moelis, as well as HSBC Holdings Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley.
Some of China’s biggest state-owned banks have been invited to pitch for the Saudi Aramco initial public offering, people with knowledge of the matter said, signaling the oil giant’s potential desire to attract Asian investors to the $100 billion listing.
Investment banking units of Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and Bank of China Ltd. are among firms competing for a role on the offering, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Senior management of some Chinese banks visited Saudi Arabia multiple times this year before Aramco officially requested proposals, one of the the people said.
A number of Asia-based dealmakers have been cutting short their vacations to finish work on the pitches, according to the people.