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UK bangs business drum in Saudi Arabia with LSE in tow

UK bangs business drum in Saudi Arabia with LSE in tow
FILE PHOTO: British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond delivers a speech at the annual Mansion House dinner in London, Britain June 20, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson -
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LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Philip Hammond will visit Saudi Arabia on Saturday to promote bilateral business ties, accompanied by London Stock Exchange chief David Schwimmer as Saudi oil giant Aramco revisits a possible listing.

Hammond will have a series of meetings with political and business leaders in Saudi Arabia as part of the British government’s support for economic and social reforms in the Gulf state, his ministry said in a statement.

Investment banks are scrambling to re-pitch to advise Saudi Aramco, given that it expects a domestic and international initial public offering (IPO) to take place in 2020 or early 2021.

Last year Britain brought in new premium listing rules aimed at attracting companies like state-controlled Aramco to London.

That prompted criticism that the British government had leaned on regulators to try to secure the Saudi energy company’s planned IPO, which could be the largest even seen.

Saudi Aramco hopes to raise $100 billion (£80 billion) from its IPO.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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