Saudi Stock Exchange chairwoman says 'we are doing everything' to get ready for giant Aramco IPO

  • "We are doing everything to get ready for Aramco's listing," Sarah Al-Suhaimi, chairwoman of the Saudi Stock Exchange, said Tuesday on CNBC's "Power Lunch."
  • The exchange, also called Tadawul, has made several changes in the last two years, including spinning off its depository center last year and moving the settlement cycle for trades from the same day to two days, Al-Suhaimi said.
  • CNBC reported earlier this month that Aramco has delayed plans for any international listing and is now expected to hold its public offering domestically.

The Saudi Stock Exchange is gearing up for the initial public offering of state-owned oil company Aramco.

"We are doing everything to get ready for Aramco's listing," Sarah Al-Suhaimi, chairwoman of the Saudi Stock Exchange, said Tuesday on CNBC's "Power Lunch."

The exchange, also called Tadawul, has made several changes in the last two years, including spinning off its depository center last year and moving the settlement cycle for trades from the same day to two days, Al-Suhaimi said. "Those were a few of the main requirements for international investors in our efforts to open up the Saudi market for investment, which started in 2015 and have been accelerated especially in the last 12 months," she said.

Sarah Al Suhaimi, Saudi Stock Exchange Chair
Balkis Press | Sipa | AP
Sarah Al Suhaimi, Saudi Stock Exchange Chair

Aramco, the world's largest oil company, intended to go public in a major financial city such as New York or London. It was expected to be the largest ever share listing with a valuation of $1 trillion to $2 trillion.

But CNBC reported earlier this month that Aramco has delayed plans for any international listing and is now expected to hold its public offering domestically, possibly as soon as the second half of this year, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Nasdaq has been particularly close with the Saudi exchange. "We've been a technology partner for the Saudi exchange for 20 years," Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman also said Tuesday on "Power Lunch." For the "last two years we've really focused on what are the core elements of infrastructure to develop to really welcome in foreign investment."

As for the Aramco IPO's international ambitions, "we certainly are making sure that we're well-positioned to be the choice for the kingdom if they make the decision to list outside Saudi Arabia," Friedman said.

— CNBC's Patti Domm and Tom DiChristopher contributed to this report.