- REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
- An unnamed senior executive from the London Stock Exchange is holding meetings in Saudi Arabia this week.
- They will accompany the City of London’s Lord Mayor, as well as executives from PwC and Standard Life Aberdeen.
- The trip is believed to be part of the City’s attempts to attract the IPO of Saudi Aramco to London.
- Aramco’s history is a long and storied one.
LONDON – The City of London is sending some of its most senior executives on a trip to Saudi Arabia this week as it intensifies efforts to attract the lucrative Saudi Aramco IPO to the London Stock Exchange.
The Times reports on Tuesday that an unnamed “senior executive” from the London Stock Exchange is heading to the Middle East kingdom, alongside the City’s Lord Mayor, Charles Bowman, and executives from PwC and asset management giant Standard Life Aberdeen.
The unnamed executive is believed to be holding numerous meetings during the trip, with delegates “expected to meet representatives of the Saudi stock exchange, where Aramco will also list, as well as the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority and sovereign wealth funds,” according to The Times.
“The lord mayor’s visit to the Gulf is a long-standing commitment, where he will meet representatives from sovereign wealth funds, regulators and business. There will be a wide range of topics up for discussion,” a spokesman for the City of London said.
- SEE ALSO: From an unexplored desert to a $2 trillion IPO: The 84-year history of Saudi Aramco in pictures
Saudi Aramco’s imminent stock market flotation – which is expected to take place at some point in 2018 – will likely make it the most valuable public company on earth, and has attracted huge attention from major financial sectors around the world, who are vying to attract the listing.
As it stands, the kingdom’s ruling family plans to list at least part of its business on Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange, the Tadawul, in 2018. It is then widely expected to list another segment on an exchange in an international financial centre – most likely be New York or London, but Hong Kong and Singapore are also thought to be contenders.
Earlier this year, UK regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) proposed relaxing existing rules to allow sovereign-owned companies to list on the London Stock Exchange. The move is believed to be almost solely a means of making the UK more attractive to Saudi Aramco’s bosses.
Last week, Prime Minister Theresa May flew to Saudi Arabia, and spoke with one of the kingdom’s most important people, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Bin Salman has spearheaded plans to modernise the Saudi economy, including through the planned Aramco flotation, and is expected to take over as king once King Salman vacates the throne. May said London is “extremely well placed” to secure the Saudi float after her visit.