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Watch: Is Saudi Aramco’s IPO more about geopolitics than raising money?

Qamar Energy CEO and founder Robin Mills discusses Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s planned meeting with President Trump, and talks about the Aramco IPO. Mills speaks on “Bloomberg Markets: Middle East.”

Trump will welcome the crown prince next week as the international competition continues to build ahead of the Saudi Aramco IPO listing, and talks about it being delayed to 2019.

“The problems associated with the listing have become apparent, making it unlikely to happen this year,” said Mills.

“The main problem is not having the main venue for the listing nailed down, and until that happens they can’t decide on reserves, auditing requirements, accounting procedures and coming up with a list of investors.”

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He added that London has become very tricky for various reasons, the US bring in legal challenges as Khaled al Falih himself, the Saudi energy minister, acknowledged a few days ago, and they have pretty much ran out of time.

It’s about two years on from when the crown prince announced the IPO, so have the reasons to go ahead changed with time?

“Initially it was the big bang on reforms, and it was a very striking initiative that would capture the imagination and it did show the Saudi transformation was very serious, selling a stake in the world’s most valuable company, and one involving Saudi assets,” Mills said.

“Now it has gone to the background because Saudi transformation has so many angles and there is that money raising issue, but for me it wasn’t the most critical thing.”

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Bloomberg reasons that with oil prices having recovered from $28 or so at time of the IPO announcement to the mid $60s now, it becomes less urgent to IPO Aramco, and the pitch looks more like an attempt to have Geo-political leverage on regional issues as the crown does his shuttle visits with political leaders overseas.