saudi aramco
Dammam, Saudi Arabia - November 17 2008: The Aramco exhibition center

The CEO of Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company, confirmed its intentions to list around 5 percent on an overseas stock exchange, adding that London remained one of the frontrunners.

The speech was given by chief executive Amin Nasser at the World Economic Forum in Davos, reiterating comments on the plan that were made by the oil company last year. The listing could be the biggest-ever on any stock exchange, with a 5 percent stake being worth around £95 billion.

The company said it was strongly considering London, as well as ‘New York, Hong Kong and others’. Nasser also ruled out the fact that rules in London dictate that a company can list a minimum of 25 percent of its equity, saying:

“It’s true London’s stock exchange requires 25 per cent as a minimum but these are details that are discussed with Britain, and Aramco is a big company,’ said Nasser. ‘We are only looking at 5 per cent, all the markets are willing and ready to cooperate. The discussions were very rich and fulfilling.”

Saudi Arabia was forced to rethink its fortunes after an oil price rout caused difficulties for state finances. As the world’s largest oil producer, Aramco pumps about 10.3 million barrels per day; over twice as many as its closest competitor Rosneft, Russia’s state-owned producer.

The Kingdom are considering an IPO in order to keep the state on track, with the lower oil output agreed in November by OPEC members likely to depress growth in Saudi Arabia’s economy to as low as 0.4 percent in 2017, according to International Monetary Fund has said.

Nasser’s speech at Davos, considering the London market as an option for listing its equity, will come as a boost for Britain as foreign companies and investors weigh up whether to flee the City ahead of Theresa May’s ‘hard Brexit’.