Saudi Arabia has scrapped its plans to list shares of state-owned energy giant Aramco on stock exchanges, according to Reuters, but the kingdom is disputing that report.
The nation's powerful crown prince still wants to take Aramco public at some point in the future, sources familiar with the process told CNBC. The IPO is now less urgent because oil prices have rebounded above $70 a barrel, relieving pressure on Saudi finances, sources said.
Multiple sources told CNBC it would be inaccurate to say Aramco has canceled the IPO. Work associated with the offering has indeed slowed down as Aramco focuses on another large deal, but advisers have not been dismissed indefinitely, one of the sources said.
An initial public offering from Aramco is expected to be the largest ever and is at the center of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's ambitious plan to overhaul the Saudi economy. The Saudis hope to attract a $2 trillion valuation for Aramco, the world's largest oil company, though some outside analysts have pegged its value at half that amount.
Doubt has been swirling around the IPO for months as the kingdom deferred making decisions on key parts of the stock market debut, including where to list shares overseas. Skepticism only grew deeper earlier this year when sources familiar with the process said Aramco would first list on its domestic exchange, the Tadawul, and put off an international listing.