The oil giant has been holding talks with a select group of investment banks as it restarts preparations for the initial public offering (IPO), no final decisions have been made.
Tuesday 20, August 2019
Lazard’s success working on Saudi Aramco bond sale earlier this year has put it in pole position to secure a coveted spot on the oil giant’s second attempt at the world’s largest IPO, reported Bloomberg.
Several rival bankers seeking a role on the IPO expect Lazard to get an advisory mandate, thanks to its work on the debut bond sale by Saudi Aramco that attracted more than $100 billion of orders.
The boutique advisory firm has been pushing hard in recent weeks to win a role on the planned share sale, sending some of its top global dealmakers from London, Paris and Houston to woo the state oil giant officials at meetings in the Middle East.
Lazard is expected to replace one of the original advisers that previously worked on the listing plans.
The oil producer was originally working with Evercore and Moelis & Co., as well as HSBC Holdings, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley.
Winning a role on the potential IPO would be a significant victory for Lazard’s efforts to bolster its Middle Eastern business. Unlike rivals such as Evercore and Moelis, Lazard has a limited on-the-ground presence in the region and covers the Gulf primarily from its offices in Europe.
Saudi Aramco recently asked Saudi and international investment banks to pitch for a role on the offering. Local lenders have told to register their interest in the next week, with formal pitches expected to take place as soon as this month.
The IPO project was first announced in 2016 as the cornerstone of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan to modernise the Saudi economy, with a target of listing in the second half of 2018.
Aramco formally put the IPO plans on hold last year and instead decided to buy a $69 billion stake in local chemical giant SABIC.