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Global leaders, tycoons flock to Saudi ‘Davos in desert’

Aramco to make stock market debut on December 11— report

By AFP - Oct 29,2019 - Last updated at Oct 29,2019

Saudi and foreign journalists are pictured at the Future Investment Initiative forum at the King Abdulazziz Conference Centre in Saudi Arabia's capital, Riyadh, on Tuesday (AFP photo)

RIYADH/ DUBAI — Saudi Arabia drew top finance moguls and political leaders to its Davos-style investment summit on Tuesday. 

Organisers say 300 speakers from over 30 countries, including American officials and heads of global banks and sovereign wealth funds, are attending the three-day Future Investment Initiative (FII), nicknamed "Davos in the desert".

With a strong turnout, the event aims at projecting the kingdom as a dynamic investment destination.
"I have been coming to Saudi Arabia for 20 years but what I have been seeing particularly in the past two or three years is [economic] transformation," Indian tycoon Mukesh Ambani told the conference, lauding the kingdom's leaders.

"As a businessman and as an investor I'm all in."

"More than 6,000 executives and participants are attending," said Yasir Al Rumayyan, chief of the kingdom's vast Public Investment Fund which organised the conference.

"This is more than double the first FII. The growth has been incredible."

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin leads a high-powered American delegation that includes Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Jared Kushner, son-in-law and senior adviser to President Donald Trump.

ARAMCO 

 

Energy giant Saudi Aramco will make its long-awaited debut on the Riyadh stock market on December 11, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said on Tuesday.

The broadcaster, citing unnamed sources, said the Saudi exchange will announce on November 3 a timetable for the initial public offering including the release on November 17 of the targeted share price.

"Aramco IPO will begin on December 4," at which point investors can subscribe to the giant offering, the sources said, adding that the shares would then start trading on the Saudi Tadawul exchange on December 11.

The IPO forms the cornerstone of a reform programme conceived by the kingdom's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to wean the Saudi economy off its reliance on oil.

Aramco was expected to launch the first part of a two-stage IPO earlier in October, but decided to push the trading date back to December or January, reportedly to factor in quarterly earnings, and also amid problems with the valuation.

Saudi Arabia was hoping that the company is evaluated at $2 trillion so its proposed sale of 5 per cent of its share would generate the desired $100 billion.

But reports said that the valuation came in lower than that.

Sources also told AFP in mid-September that the mammoth share offering could be delayed after an attack on Saudi oil facilities knocked out half of the output of the world's top crude exporter.

Aramco Chairman Yasir Al Rumayyan, speaking on stage at an opening session of the investment event, commented that "soon we will have more shareholders", but declined to elaborate on the company's plans.

After the listing on the domestic stock exchange, Aramco is believed to be planning to sell the rest of the five per cent on an international bourse. The Al-Arabiya report made no mention of those plans.

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