Japan and Aramco’s IPO!

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The Wall Street Journal has reported that Aramco’s IPO, the world’s largest, will be offered in two phases, the first on the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) and the second on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The world’s stock exchanges have harnessed their political and administrative potential to win the right to present this important IPO.

The legal risks and the lack of sufficient guarantees of underwriting on the New York Stock Exchange likely caused Saudi Arabia to turn elsewhere.

As for the London Stock Exchange, the political instability in Britain and the repercussions and expected economic recession because of Brexit were all negative factors that ruled out the UK, despite a promotional effort by London to win the deal.

Furthermore, the recent events in Hong Kong have become a clear concern for investors and are the reason for not choosing the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange, which was founded in 1878, is the world’s second largest financial market, after the New York Stock Exchange, in terms of the number of listed companies. Japan has a great interest in Gulf oil in general and Saudi Arabia in particular. It relies on Gulf oil for more than 85 percent of its needs. Japan is known for its neutrality, non-politicization of economic relations, and deals with issues independently, impartially and professionally. These points are certainly important for Saudi policymakers.

The world’s first stock exchange was founded in Amsterdam in 1602, then London in 1801, followed by Paris in the same year, then Frankfurt in 1820, New York in 1817 and Hong Kong in 1892.

The choice of Japan as the stock exchange for the proposed Aramco IPO is a non-politicized and rational choice. The report, published by the Wall Street Journal and carried by various Saudi news sources without any official denial, confirms that the issue is under serious consideration.

Aramco’s IPO is not only the largest in history but also creates a number of legal and administrative precedents in dealing with a challenge of this magnitude.


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