Saudi Aramco oil field attacks may reportedly delay IPO

Saudi Aramco, the Saudi Arabian state-run oil giant, could postpone its initial public offering because of the weekend drone attack on one of its fields, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the matter.

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Houthi rebels -- who U.S. officials say are backed by Iran -- claimed responsibility for the attack which knocked 5.7 million barrels of output, or about half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production, offline. The total accounts for more than 5 percent of the world’s daily production.

“The more information we are getting on the extent of the damage, the clearer it is becoming this is really serious and would take longer than anticipated to see things back to normal,” an official familiar with the matter told the Journal. “You cannot go ahead with an IPO without sorting out your production issues first.”

An Armaco IPO, which is expected to value the company at $2 trillion and raise $100 billion, could take place on the Saudi stock exchange as soon as November. A second listing is expected in 2020 or 2021 in either Tokyo, Hong Kong, London or New York. JPMorgan Chase is reportedly close to winning the lead advisory role with Citigroup, Goldman Sachs Group, HSBC Holdings and Samba Financial Bank also expected to get a piece of the action.

The IPO would help the kingdom fund military upgrades and deliver on Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman's Vision 2030 social agenda.

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Aramco recorded $111 billion in net profits in 2018 on revenue of $355.9 billion, according to Moody’s Investor Services.