REPORT: Fears over 9/11 lawsuits could stop Saudi Aramco bringing its $2 trillion IPO to New York

An employee fills a container with diesel at a gas station in Riyadh December 19, 2012

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An employee fills a container with diesel at a gas station in Riyadh December 19, 2012
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Fahad Shadeed/Reuters

  • Saudi Aramco could avoid listing in the USA over fears surrounding the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
  • According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, which cites people familiar with the matter, senior figures in the IPO process worry that a New York listing “could expose the kingdom to lawsuits from shareholders and 9/11 victims.”
  • Saudi Aramco is expected to list at some point during 2018.

Saudi Arabia’s ruling family could avoid listing its state oil company, Saudi Aramco, in New York, due to fears over lawsuits related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, which cites people familiar with the matter, senior figures in the IPO process worry that a New York listing “could expose the kingdom to lawsuits from shareholders and 9/11 victims.” Among those figures is Saudi oil minister and Aramco’s chairman, Khalid al-Falih.

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.

There is also some suggestion that the kingdom is still considering whether to actually pursue an international listing for part of its behemothic state oil company, and if it may instead favour a private placement of its shares.

“We hope that 2018 will be the right time, but ultimately we have to make sure the market is ready,” al-Falih said at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week. “We will calibrate that as we get closer.”