Saudi Aramco IPO faces delay until 2019

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi at the royal palace in Riyadh Saudi Arabia

Beyond London and New York, Reuters reported that Hong Kong is increasingly emerging as a likely compromise because Riyadh is keen to support Asian nations that could become important investors in the kingdom's economy.

Saudi Arabian Oil Co, known as Saudi Aramco, was not immediately available for comment.

FT yesterday cited several officials as saying they have been "warned by their Saudi counterparts" of the delay.

The newspaper interviewed relatives, advisers, associates of the detainees, as well as Saudi officials, who denied the allegations.

The IPO will involve 5% of Aramco in what will probably be the the world's biggest initial public offering. Saudi officials have not-so-privately indicated that they hoped the company would be valued at some $2 trillion.

King Salman's decision was announced Sunday in a report on the state-run Saudi Press Agency, and it comes as a New York Times report suggests the royal family's crackdown was far from the moral crusade it purports to be.

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The two leaders also discussed how to enhance and strengthen cooperation between their countries, and the Iraqi-Saudi Joint Coordination Council, a body created last October to improve strategic relations and help rebuild devastated areas retaken from militants in Iraq.

The company has not only been the primary source of Saudi revenue (there were, until recently, no taxes), historically it also has been used to move oil prices.

The nation is also deciding where to list shares of the company.

A public offering overseas was meant, in part, to send a signal that the country was changing. Princes who led military forces and appeared in glossy magazines are monitored by guards they do not command.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said in an interview with CNN last week that he was concerned about the risks that Aramco would run into by choosing NY as the venue for its $100-billion market listing.

The kingdom said it seized billions in various types of assets including real estate, commercial entities and cash. "So I don't see this artificial deadline that you refer to as being significant". In the region, speculation has turned to a possible sale of a stake to a sovereign wealth fund, possibly the Chinese.

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