Saudi Aramco is reportedly expecting to file its initial public offering (IPO) prospectus before October ends, people with knowledge of the situation revealed on Tuesday. The sources said the prospectus is expected to be filed in Arabic on October 25.
The Wall Street Journal first reported that after the Arabic filing, the English version will be filed two days later. A timeline seen by the outlet revealed dates that could prove Saudi Aramco is busy preparing for its much-anticipated IPO.
Insiders further revealed that the government is looking to list one or two percent of the oil company's shares domestically sometime late November or early December. The reports are unsurprisingly in line with previous forecasts about the IPO being settled before the year-end.
While Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman revealed earlier that he is looking at a $2 trillion valuation, industry experts said the valuation may be closer to $1.5 trillion since the oil sector has gone through various changes over the past few years.
Saudi Aramco struggled to go public over the past few years. Last year's supposed filing was reportedly blocked by government officials who feared that the masses may question the oil giant's finances.
Aramco is known for its elusive financial statements, but earlier this year, the company finally unveiled its earnings report. While the 2018 delay was an internal stumbling block, this year was a more public scenario after an Aramco key manufacturing plant was attacked by a missile strike last month.
While Saudi's overall oil output was temporarily hampered, the company recently announced that it is now operating in full swing. However, the announcement wasn't enough for credit rating leader Fitch Ratings to downgrade its rating of the world's most valuable company.
Fitch slashed Aramco's credit rating from A+ to A, attributing the downgrade to "the country's continued fiscal deficit, among other factors." Fitch also mentioned tensions within the region as one of the reasons for the cutback.
Despite the downgrade, Fitch noted that it still believes the drone attacks will not have a significant impact on the company's output. It remains to be seen if the rating will get back to A+ if Saudi Aramco completes its prospectus unveiling before the end of the month.
Meanwhile, it was also revealed on Tuesday that Saudi's central bank, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), approached local lenders to inquire about their exposure to the company.
Sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters that SAMA is looking into the capacity of local banks to tackle demand for loans with regards to the upcoming IPO. SAMA's move is largely in line with the expectation that local investors are expected to become large buyers of the oil giant's shares.
Saudi Aramco has yet to officially confirm the release date of its IPO prospectus.