Saudi Arabia to seek $11bn in bank loans after Saudi Aramco IPO stalls

Loan likely to be oversubscribed as top bankers pitch for business

The Saudi Aramco IPO has been postponed indefinitely. Photograph: Reuters

The Saudi Aramco IPO has been postponed indefinitely. Photograph: Reuters


Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is primed to choose international banks to lend it $11 billion (€9.5 billion), filling the hole left by the delayed listing of state energy group Saudi Aramco and providing financing for crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious economic reforms.

The loans will be the first made to the Public Investment Fund, the vehicle used to drive the young prince’s vision for an economy less dependent on oil, which has placed bold bets on electric car maker Tesla, ride-hailing app Uber and space travel company Virgin Galactic.

The loans are particularly important for the fund after plans to list Saudi Aramco, from which it was due to receive proceeds, were postponed indefinitely. Riyadh’s focus has shifted away from the blockbuster IPO, which had been expected to raise in the region of $100 billion, in favour of other means of financing for the PIF.

Senior names

Some of the most senior names in international banking, including JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon, Morgan Stanley’s Franck Petitgas and Goldman Sachs’s Dina Powell, the former Trump White House official, have been actively pitching for the deal.

The PIF had hoped to raise up to $8 billion, but one person close to the deal said the loan was oversubscribed and likely to be set at $11 billion with a spread of 75 basis points over Libor, commonly used as a floating rate benchmark.

One banker involved said: “Everyone has gone in fairly aggressively.”

Syndicated loans to sovereign wealth funds are unusual, with large Middle Eastern funds such as the Qatar Investment Authority typically borrowing against specific investments instead. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018