Saudi Arabia could limit initial Aramco IPO only to Riyadh exchange

Pensions body worried sovereign listing plan may damage UK market's reputation

According to unnamed people "familiar with the matter" quoted by the Financial Times, Saudi Aramco is now in talks with a number of foreign governments as well, including China, about a possible private sale.

Saudi Aramco has dismissed reports that it is considering shelving plans for the world's biggest ever flotation, with the state-owned oil company saying the $2tn (£1.5tn) listing was on track for next year.

But Aramco dismissed the report as "entirely speculative". "A plan to list Aramco in 2018 was on track, senior Saudi officials had said in Moscow earlier this month".

Aramco's dual listing on the Saudi stock market, Tadawul, and an global exchange had been earmarked for 2018 by the Saudi authorities - with stock markets in New York, London and Asia all vying for the offering.

"A range of options, for the public listing of Saudi Aramco, continues to be held under active review", the spokesman told AFP, questioned on reports that sales on global markets would follow at a later stage.

Morgan said questions remain about the level of political involvement in the consultation and warned that "the UK's world-class reputation for upholding strong corporate governance mustn't be watered down".

Reuters provides more: "No final decision has yet been made and an worldwide listing could still occur next year, the FT reported ..."

However, as it reels from a protracted oil slump, the kingdom is seeking to diversify its economy and privatize some state assets, alongside plans to introduce value-added tax.

Oil prices have partly recovered after major producers inside and outside OPEC, including Saudi Arabia, agreed a year ago to cut output by 1.8 million barrels per day.

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