Singapore Exchange chief bullish on bourse's Aramco IPO chances

A man checks his phone at the entrance of the Singapore Exchange Ltd. (SGX) headquarters in Singapore, on Thursday, January 19, 2017. (Bloomberg/Ore Huiying)

Singapore Exchange’s chief executive officer said his company is still in the running to win a listing of the shares of oil giant Aramco, in what could be the world’s biggest initial public offering.

“We’re as good as any other exchange,” Loh Boon Chye said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. “We stand as good a chance as any others.”

At least half a dozen exchanges including those in New York, London, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Toronto are vying for a slice of Saudi Arabian Oil’s IPO. The head of the kingdom’s local bourse said earlier this week it’s aiming for exclusive rights to host the share sale.

“For global companies that have a significant global presence, listing beyond one venue allows for wider investor participation,” Loh said.

The planned debut of Aramco next year is a key part of an ambitious economic plan that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman proposed to wean the kingdom off its economic dependency on oil. The government has said the sale of five percent of the business could value the company at as much as two trillion dollars. Analysts have tended to give lower estimates.

New York Stock Exchange CEO Thomas Farley said on Thursday his bourse is still in talks with Aramco about its listing.

SGX’s Loh also said that his exchange had received interest from companies looking to list in part because of rules that allow dual-class shares on his market for secondary listings. He wouldn’t be drawn, however, on whether the bourse will allow multiple share classes for primary listings. The exchange is considering “wide-ranging views” it received in response to a public consultation on the issue, he said. – Bloomberg

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