TMX seeks part of Saudi Aramco listing

Wed Feb 8, 2017 1:47pm EST
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By Alastair Sharp and John Tilak

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto Stock Exchange owner TMX Group Ltd said on Wednesday it was pitching the energy-rich bourse to "Saudi officials of significant influence" to bring at least part of the kingdom's massive Saudi Aramco [IPO-ARMO.SE] public listing to Canada.

Saudi Arabia expects to value the state-owned oil producer at a minimum of $2 trillion, in what could be the world's biggest initial public offering (IPO), the centerpiece of a plan to transform the Saudi economy by attracting foreign investment and diversifying away from oil.

Riyadh will be the main listing venue, with at least one other primary listing either in London or New York, a source familiar with the TMX talks told Reuters, adding that the Canadian exchange is competing for a secondary listing.

Canada's rich mineral resources industry and investor base of big pension funds make it a natural listing venue for oil companies, yet the country has failed to attract many large foreign listings. The biggest traded company on the exchange is Royal Bank of Canada with a market value of $108 billion, while energy companies account for almost 20 percent of the benchmark Toronto index's weight.

"We're an energy-laden exchange, we have a whole knowledge base that understands energy and people that look to this market to trade energy," said Brian Pow, a research and equity analyst at Acumen Capital Partners in Calgary.

Other exchanges vying for a secondary listing include global players such as Frankfurt and Hong Kong, the source added. Singapore Exchange has also held talks with Saudi Aramco on a secondary listing, Reuters reported this week..

Aramco has chosen New York-based boutique investment bank Moelis & Co as an adviser on its IPO plans, separate sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

TMX said its representatives traveled to Saudi Arabia in October and again last month for meetings with Saudi officials. A consortium of representatives from across Canada's capital markets has sought to establish relationships with key business and government leaders in Saudi Arabia.   Continued...

A TMX Group sign, the company that runs the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), is seen in Toronto, June 23, 2014.  REUTERS/Mark Blinch/File Photo