Saudi fund said planning to borrow up to $12bn from banks
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign fund is reportedly set to borrow up to $12 billion from international banks.
The move comes after IPO plans for state energy group Saudi Aramco were put on the backburner, the Financial Times reported, citing sources.
Almost 16 banks are expected to participate in the lending process, the UK-based newspaper said.
Saudi Arabia on Thursday rejected reports that Aramco’s planned initial public offering had been scrapped, saying the kingdom had stepped up preparations for the stock market debut of the state energy giant.
“The government remains committed to the IPO of Saudi Aramco at a time of its own choosing when conditions are optimum,” energy minister Khalid al-Falih said in a statement.
The plan to float around five percent of Aramco – expected to be the world’s largest stock sale – forms the cornerstone of a reform programme envisaged by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to wean the economy off its reliance on oil.
But Aramco executives have repeatedly cited unfavourable market conditions to push back the IPO, earlier scheduled for this year, with many observers sceptical whether the listing will happen at all.
Fresh speculation about the listing swirled late Wednesday after a media report that the kingdom had halted the plan and financial advisors working on it had been disbanded.