Saudi Aramco asks FTI Consulting to halt IPO investor relations work: sources

FILE PHOTO: Visitors are seen at the Saudi Aramco stand at the Middle East Process Engineering Conference & Exhibition in Manama, Bahrain, October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/File photo

KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia/DUBAI (Reuters) - State-owned Saudi Aramco has asked FTI Consulting FCN.N to suspend its investor relations advisory work related to the oil company's planned initial public offering, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Aramco brought in Brunswick to advice on media relations and appointed FTI Consulting to manage investor relations.

It was not immediately clear why FTI was asked to suspend its work for Aramco, but one of the sources said the latest decision could broaden Brunswick’s role beyond media relations.

FTI has been reporting to Aramco head of investor relations Fergus MacLeod, a former group head of strategic planning at BP.

FTI and Brunswick declined to comment on Aramco’s move. Saudi Aramco did not respond to a request for immediate comment.

China is offering to buy up to 5 percent of Saudi Aramco directly, Reuters reported this week citing sources, a move that could give Saudi Arabia more flexibility in floating the world’s biggest oil producer on the stock market.

Reporting by Reem Shamseddine, Stephen Kalin and Hadeel El Sayegh; additional reporting by Rania El Gamal; editing by Jason Neely