Saudi Aramco to delay initial public offering: source

Saudi Aramco (Abqaiq processing plant pictured September 2019) will push back its IPO, a move that could delay the oil giant's stock market trading by a few months (AFP Photo/Fayez Nureldine)

New York (AFP) - Saudi Aramco plans to push back its initial public offering, which had been expected to be launched next week, a person familiar with the situation said Thursday.

The move could delay stock market trading of the oil giant to December or January instead of November, the person said. The company is expected to be valued at between $1.5 and $2 trillion, making it the biggest ever.

Sources had told AFP in mid-September that the IPO could be pushed back after an attack on Saudi oil facilities curtailed output.

The IPO is part of Riyadh's efforts under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to diversify its economy away from petroleum.

Aramco has envisioned a two-stage public listing, with about two percent of the capital trading on the Tadawul exchange in Saudi Arabia and an additional listing on a foreign exchange, sources say.

The company intends for about five percent of shares to be available on public exchanges.

The prospect of falling short of the $2 trillion valuation desired by Saudi rulers is widely considered the reason the IPO has been delayed.

A prior initiative to list Aramco was pulled last year due to disappointment over the valuation during a weak period for oil prices.