Boutique advisory firm Lazard Ltd is expected to get a leading role in Saudi Aramco’s second attempt at an initial public offering, Bloomberg reported on Monday, August 19.
Saudi Aramco is the largest national petroleum & natural gas company in Saudi Arabia and reportedly one of the most profitable companies in the world. The IPO is the jewel in the crown of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s “Saudi Vision 2030,” which seeks to diversify the country’s economy and reduce its dependence on oil revenue.
Lazard reportedly caught the eye of Saudi Aramco following their success working on the company’s hugely successful bond sale. They are now expected to obtain an advisory mandate for the IPO.
The bond sale in April coincided with the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khasshogghi. The controversy had no impact however. The sale was oversubscribed with orders exceeding $100 billion.
The $2 trillion flotation has stalled previously but is now expected for 2020 or 2021.
Such bumps along the road perhaps have led to the potential onboarding of Lazard Ltd. It is not clear which of the original firms involved in the offering they are set to replace. These included: Evercore Inc., Moelis & Co., HSBC Holdings Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Morgan Stanley.
Although no final decisions or announcements have been made, Lazard’s shares rose by 4.1% in New York trading.