Tuesday 24 January 2017 7:10 pm

Saudi Aramco eyes bankers for what could be the world's biggest float

Global banking giants are set to compete for an advisory role on oil goliath Saudi Aramco’s multi-billion-dollar float, which is expected to be the world’s biggest initial public offering.

The Saudi state-owned firm, thought to be the world’s largest oil producer, has requested proposals from banks including Morgan Stanley and HSBC, sources told Reuters late last night.

Banking giants are reportedly being invited to weigh up the value of Aramco’s business and help facilitate its share sale.

The exact size of the share sale is yet to be confirmed.

Read more: Saudi Arabia's gormless cheerleaders have failed to spot the looming crisis

However, Saudi Aramco’s chief executive Amin Nasser said in October that up to five per cent of the company could be floated by as early as 2018.

If the share sale goes ahead as planned, Saudi Aramco could become the world’s most valuable company dwarfing the likes of Apple, Exxon Mobil, Berkshire Hathaway and Google among others.

In October, Nasser said that London was in the running to stage the listing.

Other markets the oil goliath is eyeing up include New York, Hong Kong and Japan.

The Dhahran-headquartered firm boasts an average daily crude production of 10.2m barrels per day and has natural gas reserves of 297.6 trillion standard cubic feet.

Read more: London could be in line for part of the $2 trillion Saudi Aramco IPO

Last year, Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince, revealed the kingdom was very keen to list shares in Saudi Aramco.

Its float ambitions are part of Saudi Arabia’s plans to reduce its reliance on oil as it looks for new revenue streams and attracts more investment.

“Personally I’m enthusiastic about this step. I believe it is in the interest of the Saudi market, and it is in the interest of Aramco,” Prince Mohammed told the Economist in an interview last year.

The appointment of banks is expected to be finalised by the end of the year.