Saudi Aramco announces plan to go public

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Here are the key events on Aramco's path to an eventual stock market début.

The officials did not disclose the percentage of shares to be sold or the offer price.

Saudi Arabia's state-run oil company says it has begun the process of listing its shares on the domestic bourse for what could be the world's largest initial public offering.

The public offering of Saudi Aramco could smash records and give investors the chance to own a piece of the world's most profitable company.

Saudi Aramco is worth $1.2tn, according to analysis from financial news service Bloomberg, although Riyadh would prefer a valuation of $2tn, which is one reason the company's share sale has been delayed a number of times.

The attacks targeted the Abqaiq and Khurais plants at the heart of the country's oil industry, causing fires and damage and temporarily shutting down 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd) of production - more than 5% of global oil supply.

Production rose rapidly after the discovery of large offshore and onshore oilfields including Ghawar, the world's largest with some 60 billion barrels of oil, and Safaniya, the biggest offshore field with 35 billion barrels.

To help get the deal done, Saudi Arabia is relying on easy credit for retail investors and hefty contributions from rich locals - they're also eligible for a maximum of 100 bonus shares for every 10 allotted shares.

The announcement paves the way for a domestic stock listing of Aramco, with share trading expected to begin in December, while its plans to launch on an worldwide bourse remain unclear. It is overseen by the country's Ministry of Energy, which is headed by Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a son of King Salman. That figure, based on a $2 trillion valuation of the company now seen as unrealistic, may not be reached but even so it it is likely to be the biggest share market offering of all time.

August 19, 2019 Saudi Aramco asks banks to pitch for roles in IPO, sources said.

Saudi oil giant Aramco is a cash cow for the kingdom, allowing the royal family to wield power with a drip-feed of petrodollars. Whereas extracting North Sea oil is expensive due to its location under hundreds of feet of water, oil in Saudi Arabia is relatively close to the surface.

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It then plans to launch an global offering in 2020 or 2021, said the report.

July 20, 2018 Saudi Aramco's plans to buy a stake in petrochemicals maker Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) would affect IPO timing, CEO said in an interview.

Jan 10, 2018 Saudi Aramco is working to raise cheap loans from banks seeking to strengthen their ties with the oil giant before its IPO, banking sources said.

Tourism Minister Ahmad al-Khateeb described it as a "historic moment" for the country.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wants to diversify the Saudi economy away from oil.

April 19, 2017 China gathers state-led consortium that will act as a cornerstone investor in the Aramco IPO, people with knowledge of the discussions tell Reuters.

While the physical damage from the attacks may have been repaired, investors remain anxious about the vulnerability of Aramco and its units to future assault, more so, given the political tensions between Saudi Arabia and Yemen that show no sign of closure - not at least in the near future.

Lazard Frères SAS, M. Klein and Co and Moelis have been acting as special advisors to the company, the Aramco statement said.

May 27, 2016 Saudi Aramco was boosting market share as it prepares for listing, Chief Executive Amin Nasser said in an interview.

It said the government will forgo its right to receive a portion of cash dividends on Aramco's shares, giving priority on such distribution to new shareholders.

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