President Donald Trump has urged Saudi Arabia to list the state-owned oil giant Aramco in the United States stock exchange market.
Trump’s call on Sunday came after a number of senior ministers were dismissed and a dozen princes detained in a major shake-up in the kingdom.
Trump told reporters that he had spoken to King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and that Saudi Arabia “will consider” selling shares in the US market.
“I want them to strongly consider the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or NASDAQ, or frankly anybody else located in this country,” he said during his flight to Japan’s capital, Tokyo, for the start of his Asian tour.
The US president added that the Arab state had not been considering the US market “because of litigation, risk and other risk, which is very sad”.
The lucrative Saudi company is set to sell five percent of its shares next year in what could be the world’s largest initial public offering (IPO), expected to raise about $100bn.
Trump’s comments to the press echoed his tweet earlier on Saturday, which said: “Would very much appreciate Saudi Arabia doing their IPO of Aramco with the New York Stock Exchange. Important to the United States!”
Would very much appreciate Saudi Arabia doing their IPO of Aramco with the New York Stock Exchange. Important to the United States!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 4, 2017
Aramco is the world’s largest company in the oil business and the backbone of the Saudi economy.
The Aramco IPO deal is at the heart of an ambitious economic reform programme, Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to reduce the country’s reliance on oil.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shrugged off speculations of shelving the IPO last month, telling Reuters news agency that the deal was on track for 2018 and could value the company at some $2 trillion.
On Saturday, Saudi Arabia dismissed a number of senior ministers and detained nearly a dozen princes in an investigation by a new anti-corruption committee, state media reported.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a billionaire businessman who owns investment firm Kingdom Holding, was among those held, according to Reuters news agency, citing an unnamed senior official.
The senior ministers who were sacked include Prince Meteb bin Abdullah, the head of the National Guard, and Adel Fakeih, the economy minister.
Abdullah al-Sultan, commander of the Saudi navy, was replaced by Fahad al-Ghafli.
In a statement on the official Saudi news agency SPA, King Salman alluded to the “exploitation by some of the weak souls who have put their own interests above the public interest, in order to, illicitly, accrue money” for the creation of the anti-graft committee.
The Kingdom is experiencing a recession after shrinking in two consecutive quarters for the first time since 2009.