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Evercore, Moelis Aramco’s Advisors during the Company’s IPO | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A Saudi Aramco employee sits in the area of its stand at the Middle East Petrotech 2016, an exhibition and conference for the refining and petrochemical industries, in Manama, Bahrain, September 27, 2016. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Khobar – Things haven’t been settled yet as which bank will be in charge of Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering (IPO) or even take the advisory role.

Bloomberg reported that Aramco had added another financial advisor, Evercore Partners Inc., the US bank founded by Roger Altman, to work alongside Moelis & Co., which was assigned last month.

Aramco is also in the process of appointing investment banks to underwrite the IPO, reported Bloomberg.

Evercore’s Chief Executive Officer Ralph Schlosstein was personally involved in the discussions and will work on the deal, as the firm is planning to open an office in Dubai to be close to Aramco during the IPO.

Nothing is definite or final concerning the list of banks participating in Aramco’s IPO, and despite news reports, none of the banks’ roles in the process has been determined.

Aramco didn’t comment on the news, and a company’s representative said the company doesn’t comment on rumor or speculation.

In February, several news outlets reported that the state-owned Aramco had chosen JPMorgan Chase & Co, Morgan Stanley, and HSBC Holdings Plc to assist with its initial public share offer.

Aramco is aiming to list up to 5 percent of the world’s largest oil producer on both the Saudi stock exchange in Riyadh, Tadawul, and one or more international markets in an IPO. Officials expect the IPO to value Aramco at a minimum of two trillion dollars. The IPO is the corner stone of Vision 2030 which aims to attract foreign investments and diversify the economy away from oil.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Tuesday the initial public offering of Saudi Aramco remains on track and “we expect it to take place in 2018.”

During his visit to Huston, US, Falih told CNBC those planning to invest their money in Aramco will receive data from accredited companies. He also asked economic circles not to take into their consideration what is being said about the value of Aramco.

Financial circles had intense debates about the real value of Aramco. For example, Wood Mackenzie Ltd. came up with a rough valuation of Aramco’s core business of $400 billion, while Foreign Reports said that value is up to $460 billion. The Saudi government had initially set up a figure of $2 trillion as Aramco’s real value.

Falih said that Saudi Arabia is favoring New York to list Saudi Aramco, while also considering London, Toronto, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Financial analyst Mohammed al-Ramadi told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that choosing Evercore and Moelis would bring Amraco closer to listing its shares in New York’s stock market.

Bloomberg mentioned last month that Aramco is considering discounted shares for local investors. The company has discussed ways to structure the offering in different tiers, allowing Saudi buyers to receive the stock at a lower price than international investors.

Aramco is also considering listing venues in the US, UK and Asia, in addition to Riyadh, and is planning to choose local banks to advise on the Saudi listing.

No final decisions have been made on the share pricing or listing venue.

Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Tuesday in Davos, that the fiscal regime will be changed.

“When you look at the fiscal regime and the taxes, it has to be aligned with other listed companies,” explained Nasser.

Falih also pointed out that Aramco could enlist its shares in more than one stock market at once.

Reuters reported last month that Aramco received six offers at least for advisory positions for listing the company’s shares in Riyadh.