November 15, 2019 / 9:58 AM / a month ago

Saudi Aramco IPO could strengthen government finances, support economy: S&P

FILE PHOTO: An employee in a branded helmet is pictured at Saudi Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia October 12, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Saudi Aramco’s forthcoming listing on the local stock market could help strengthen the government’s net asset position, with the proceeds potentially raising the kingdom’s longer-term economic growth, S&P Global Ratings said.

The world’s most profitable company starts a share sale on Nov. 17 in an initial public offering (IPO) that may raise between $20 billion and $40 billion.

“The bulk of the funds raised will go to the government or the Public Investment Fund, potentially adding to the sovereign’s already strong fiscal net asset position of 72.7% of GDP,” S&P said in a note.

“Productively deployed, we believe the assets could also help maintain growth potential through our three-year ratings horizon.”

S&P Global rates Saudi Arabia as A-/A-2 with a stable outlook. The agency said the ratings were constrained by high geopolitical risks, sizable fiscal deficits and the limited transparency of the kingdom’s institutional framework and the reporting of government assets.

Reporting by Tom Arnold; editing by Sujata

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