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Saudi Arabia oil giant to get £1.5BN Treasury cheque to float in London | City & Business | Finance

Competition is coming from New York over the deal, which is estimated to be worth £1.6 trillion and would be the largest ever to go public.

Aramco’s aim is to sell a five per cent stake to investors to finically assist the Saudi Arabian government. 

Back in April, both Prime Minister Theresa May and London Stock Exchange boss Xavier Rolet went to Saudi Arabia to discuss possibilities of a deal.

A few months ago the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) met with Saudi officials said listing rules would be watered down to make Britain more attractive to the Saudi firm. 

The FCA’s review of this move brought plenty of criticism from investors.

The Government has committed to helping the foreign state-owned company to borrow from banks. The Treasury’s UK Export Finance group is guaranteeing £1.5billion for Aramco to spend on investment.

The meaning behind this deal, is that if the company is unable to pay the cash back, UK taxpayers will refund creditors.

Many have viewed this deal with suspicion. 

Labour MP Wes Streeting, a member of the Treasury Select Committee told the Daily Mail: “The irregular nature of this arrangement merits clear scrutiny, so I hope it’s something the committee will look at in coming weeks.” 

A source close to Aramco listing said that this was a “desperate” attempt to secure the float for London. 

Former Treasury official Lord Macpherson gave a vehement response to the plan on Twitter saying that Prime Minister William Gladstone would be “turning in his grave”.

But Treasury sources have spoken out more favourably for the deal saying that it is normal practice , as a way of boosting UK exports.

The Aramco deal will be the second-largest executed by UK Export Finance, behind a £1.7 billion agreement with Oman in 2016 for BAE fighter jets. 

Yesterday, Aramco agreed to £3.4 billion of deals with firms in Italy, Spain, China, Abu Dhabi and the US.

Liam Fox, Trade Secretary signed off on the guarantee.


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