UK PM Theresa May pitches London for Saudi Aramco listing
UK prime minister Theresa May met with Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, on Tuesday to pitch the London Stock Exchange (LSE) as a listing destination for the Saudi Aramco initial public offering (IPO) next year, agencies reported.
The meeting, which was also attended by LSE chief executive Xavier Rolet, took place during May’s ongoing two-day visit to the kingdom.
The prime minister discussed London’s expertise in financial services, and also pitched the UK’s investment opportunities, British government officials said.
LSE is among several global bourses vying for the lucrative listing of 5 percent of oil giant Saudi Aramco in 2018, said to be valued at $100 billion. Other exchanges in the running are New York, Toronto, Singapore, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.
Hosting the Aramco IPO would be significant for the UK as it leaves the European Union, following the Brexit vote last year.
May’s visit to Saudi Arabia is aimed at boosting trade ties and counter-terrorism cooperation, according to an official statement by the UK prime minister’s office.
“Saudi Arabia is currently the UK’s largest trading partner in the Middle East, with exports of British goods standing at £4.67 billion ($5.83 billion) and services at £1.9 billion ($2.4 billion) in 2015,” the statement said.
May and Rolet also met with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, managing director of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) on Wednesday to discuss investment opportunities in the UK, it was reported.